The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has appealed to the state Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo, to plead with his officials to return to their duty posts.
He made the appeal against the backdrop of the increasing crime wave in Benin and other parts of the state.
This is after the #EndSARS protests, hijacked by thugs, led to the vandalisation of several public and private properties in the state.
At least seven police stations and security vans were burnt down in the state while several AK 47 rifles and other ammunition were looted by the vandals during the height of the protests two weeks ago.
Apparently, as a result of the devastation, the streets of Benin and other major towns in the state had been devoid of police presence.
Major roads, bus stops, traffic congestion points as well as government establishments that had hitherto been regulated by police services have become obviously unmanned.
The crime wave in the state has also been alleged to have increased as there are reported cases of armed robbery, car snatching, and kidnapping in Benin and some other highways out of the state capital.
Edo State witnessed one of the most devastating effects of the #EndSARS protest with two jailbreaks in Benin in which over 1,993 prison inmates escaped including over 150 hardened prisoners that had either been sentenced to death or doing life imprisonment.
Worried by the unfolding negative developments, Mr Obaseki begged the state Commissioner of Police, to appeal to his officers to return to their duty posts.
Mr Obaseki said this on Monday when he visited the command.
He said their absence on the roads and some conspicuous places in the state could easily be exploited by hoodlums to commit crimes.
Mr Obaseki said the government and the people of Edo were solidly behind the police command, adding that they would give them the needed support.
The governor said he has ordered for patrol vans to be supplied and given to the police to aid their operations in the state while the medical bills of the injured officers would also be taken care of by the government. He said he would rebuild the burnt police stations.
“Edo State government will now proceed immediately to begin to rebuild your destroyed building. We already ordered some patrol vehicles and we hope it will be delivered in the next few weeks. We will be responsible for the hospital bills of every officer who has been hurt in the last few weeks.”
The governor vowed that the inmates who escaped will not celebrate Christmas with other citizens of the state and that they will certainly be recaptured.
He said those “who saw the prison gates flung open and chose to stay back, their cases will be reviewed.”
Meanwhile, before the governor’s request to the police, the state Commissioner of Police, said the presence of the state governor in their midst had boosted their morale to resume.
Mr Kokumo said about 11 of their personnel were injured by the protesters and that out of the injured, “10 of them have been discharged from the hospital while one other is still at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, (UBTH) for treatment”.
He said after the #EndSARS protest, the command arrested 126 criminal suspects, 10 of whom were the inmates who escaped from the Medium Correctional Centres in the state.
Mr Kokumo disclosed that seven police stations, 10 police vans, and several personal and exhibit vehicles were burnt, adding that seven AK47 rifles carted away have been recovered.
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