RISING WAVES OF YOUTHS' CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES — Nigerian Pilot News
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RISING WAVES OF YOUTHS’ CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES

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Stakeholders’ demand holistic action to end cult war in A’Ibom

In recent time, the media are awash with how cult wars among youths and groups degenerate leading to unleashing of hell on innocent, peace-loving citizens of Edo State with reckless abandon. The worst is that law-abiding citizens are not the only main targets; the security agencies, especially the police, have become prime targets.

The proliferation of cult groups among youths and political thugs spread from the University, Polytechnic, Colleges of Education to secondary schools, some reports were quoted. Family members, friends, associates and neighbours of cult members, more often than not, are victims of cult wars anchored on bloody acrimony and vendetta. They kill, destroy properties, kidnap for ransom and are a thriving industry for unscrupulous politicians during elections.

All these are sad pointers to the rot in our educational and moral standards in Nigeria that need a broad approach involving religious, traditional, political and socio-cultural institutions to tackle headlong.

There were several reported bloody incidents, but one stood out for its gruesome nature. Recall that on March 12, 2019, unknown gunmen, in a commando-like fashion, sprang the Divisional Police Command at Afuze, the administrative headquarters of Owan East Local Government Area of Edo, and killed a Divisional Police Officer (DPO), a pregnant police woman and two others in cold blood.

Police officers of the division were reportedly caught off guard because many of them had gone out for operational duties. Not done yet, the heavily armed hoodlums attacked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the local government, shot sporadically, molested staff on duty and set ablaze electoral materials and a police Hilux van in the premises. If security agents are not safe as a result of criminal activities of cultists and kidnappers, who else is safe?

In Owan West, it was reported that Mr. Ohio Ezomo, the then All Progressives Congress (APC) House of Assembly candidate for Owan West was kidnapped. That was not all, his police orderly was brutally killed in the process on January 23, 2019. Aside that, on July 14, 2018, at a checkpoint in the state, four police officers were attacked, killed and their body burnt inside their patrol Hilux van.

It is therefore gladdening that the police which swung into action with a view to arresting the situation have reportedly arrested some suspects who confessed to the crime of March 12 killing.

A confessional statement of one of the suspects was quoted as saying that, “When we got to the station, Abaga who is at large started shooting and we killed the police officers so that we can escape. I killed one of the police, while Abaga locked the police inside the room and killed them. Abaga called me that we are going to set free Ernest and three others. Killing was not part of the plan but when we got there, Abaga killed the DPO, that was how we joined him. I didn’t intend to kill the officer but you know gun has a spirit that goes​ with it”.

Let the police authorities ensure that the notorious suspects face justice. The country will not be safe if lawless citizens make law enforcement agents the targets of their heinous crimes. We also call on the police hierarchy to properly secure their commands and stations against criminal invasion such as the cultists did in Edo police station. The police should also reinforce its resolve and efforts to flushing out cult and criminal elements that are not spreading in Edo, Rivers, Delta, Benue (Otukpo) and other States in the country.

QUOTE

Police officers of the division were reportedly caught off guard because many of them had gone out for operational duties. Not done yet, the heavily armed hoodlums attacked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the local government, shot sporadically, molested staff on duty and set ablaze electoral materials and a police Hilux van in the premises. If security agents are not safe as a result of criminal activities of cultists and kidnappers, who else is safe?

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