No fewer than 50 persons have been arrested by men of the Edo State command of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). Among the arrested persons, 30 are suspected to be cultists while 20 are suspected kidnappers who specialise in the abduction of prominent persons in the several different areas of the state.
Mr. Samuel Adegbuyi, the Edo State Commissioner of Police, made the disclosure at the command’s headquarters in Benin-city on Saturday, June 27, 2015. He revealed that the suspects had been arrested by members of highway patrol teams at some locations within the state.
He further revealed that the suspects had confessed to the crimes and that 107 arms and ammunition were recovered from them while 15 of their victims were rescued. He also recalled an earlier arraignment of 227 cultists in May 2015 and said that the 30 who were just arrested were undergoing interrogation and would be charged accordingly.
“Apart from the 227 high profile cultists arraigned in court between May 2 and 9 this year, we have 20 suspects who have confessed to have kidnapped various prominent individuals in the state and even outside the state.
“Fifteen victims of kidnapping have been rescued. Nine AK-47 riffles were, in the process, recovered. One bereta pistol and about 60 locally made weapons as well as some paraphernalia of military outfits were also recovered,” he added.
Commissioner Adegbuyi also revealed that several highway patrol vehicles had been deployed in various locations within the state as part of measures by the Inspector General of Police. The areas include the Benin-Lagos road, Benin-Agbor road, Benin-Akure road, Auchi-Okpella road, Ibilo, Ehor and Benin Bypass.
He further said that some of the suspects were “travelling criminals” as they were not residents of the state but used it as as escape routes for their acts. He commended local vigilante groups for their help in tracking down criminals using their knowledge of the areas even at odd hours.
However, Commissioner Adegbuyi called for the continuous cooperation of with all relevant crime control stakeholders including religious and traditional leaders for a safer state.