The hallowed ground of the Edo State Government House was late Thursday evening desecrated as victims of the latest herdsman killings in Ovia North-East Local Government Area, carried a corpse of one of the seven persons murdered in the locality by herdsmen to the Governor’s Office, GRA, Benin City.
The protesters in their hundreds, drawn from the Yoruba Camp in the locality and other communities, gave the Edo State Government a three-day ultimatum to address the problem of insecurity in the area and secure lives and property.
The community dwellers said that they brought the corpse to the Government House because police at the Ekiadolor Police Division only told them to go and deposit the body in the mortuary.
The protesters said they had experienced several killings by herdsmen and that Governor Godwin Obaseki’s visits to the area several times with assurance of adequate security and safety had not materialised in the face of the recent killings in the area.
It would be recalled that seven persons were confirmed killed on Wednesday at he agrarian communities of Ugboke, Oshodi, Okokodo, Ariyan and Yoruba camp, in the local government area.
Speaking, one of leaders of the protesters, Michael Idahosa, said the communities could no longer bear the incessant attacks of killer herdsmen on the farming communities, adding that they decided to bring the dead body to government house, so that the governor could see their plight.
“We are here to protest the killings by herdsmen in our communities. The governor came to Ovia North East in 2017, when herdsmen killed one of our persons and promised to tackle the problem of herdsmen in our local government, but the government did nothing”, he lamented.
Receiving the protesters, Edo State Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu, reassured them that the government would intensify efforts at providing adequate security to check the rising spate of herders killing activities in the state.
“As a state, we have made up our mind not to lament but look for solutions on how to protect our country and our state. There was also an attack in the early hours of today in Niger State; it’s a national problem. As we speak now, Governor Godwin Obaseki and other governors are in Abuja to discuss this insecurity issue in our country”, the deputy governor noted.
Reassuring the people, Shaibu added: “You will remember that we are bringing in local vigilantes to collaborate with law enforcement agencies; we are strengthening our system and will still need your support. We don’t want to take laws into our hands but at the same time, we cannot fold our hands and watch the people kill us. Take it easy; some bodies are yet to be found, I have had a discussion with the security agencies.”
The security agents, he disclosed, would move into that area; “I can assure you that they will recover their bodies and we will intensify the security in that area. We will categorize that area as one of the flashpoints so that you can sleep with your eyes closed”.
He urged the youths in the locality not to sleep with their eyes closed so that they could understand what is going on in their areas, and pass on necessary information t the authorities.