Tony Osauzo, Benin
Eight persons have been reportedly killed in different parts of Benin City and its environs in the past three days in a raging cult war between the Aye and Eiye confraternities.
An undergraduate identified as John Terry, was reportedly killed along Upper Uwa Street off M.M Way in Benin City on Tuesday night.
Eyewitnesses said Terry who was engaged as polling agent to one of the political parties in the February 16 botched general elections, was beaten to death with rods and sticks by his assailants.
In another incident, a father of four, identified as Africa, was hacked to death at Aifuwa Junction after shots fired at him did not penetrate his body. His body was said to have been dumped at the Central Hospital mortuary.
At ‘Three House’ area at Upper Sokponba in Ikpoba-Okha local government, traders and shop owners scampered for safety as suspected cultists robbed passers-by and shot into the air.
Two boys belonging to a rival cult group were shot dead in the process.
A pharmaceutical shop owner in the area who pleaded anonymity said over 20 persons ran into his shop when the shooting started and they laid on the floor to avoid being hit by stray bullets.
He said traders around the area now close their shops from 7:30pm since last Sunday.
“I was inside my shop when I received a call that I should lock my shop and go home because the area was about to ‘scatter.’ As I stood up to tell my boys to lock up, I saw people running into my store to take refuge.
“All of us were on the floor while shootings were on. We later heard many people were robbed while two boys were killed,” he said.
Another witness said policemen later stormed the area and started arresting innocent persons.
Recall that on Sunday night, Osato Okunkpolor, manager of a hotel owned by an ex-international footballer, Osaze Odemwingie, was killed by cultists who engaged in a shootout.
Governor Godwin Obaseki had in December last year, unveiled a new security outfit in the state known as “Operation Wabaizigan” (Stop All Bad Things) with brand-new 30 Hilux vans, 50 patrol vehicles equipped with communications gadgets, two APC vehicles, and motorcycles.
Notwithstanding, the spokesman of the Edo State Police Command, DSP Chidi Nwabuzor, said the police had set up security measures to ensure that the city is safe and secure.
He slammed critics of “Operation Wabaizigan,” saying it was too early to condemn the security outfit and urged residents of the state to be patient as the focus was on the general election.