By Osaigbovomwan Iguobaro
An attempt by security personnel to overturn the brutal murder of a 68-year-old man has sparked protest by residents of Uroho Community in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State.
The lingering crisis over the alleged
murder of father of five Children identified as Mr. Osagie Isiokhere on May 6, 2021 in the Community, however assumed a worrisome dimension when some Nigeria police personnel and members of Edo State vigilante Network in company of one Mr. Igbinoba who was linked to the murder case, allegedly attacked Uroho Community at about 2:25a.m on Thursday June 10, 2021.
The invaders, according to reports, were however resisted by brave residents of the Community, forcing them to abandon a Mercedes Benz, Toyota Hilux and Toyota Sienna car, which was crashed into a roadside ditch in the Community and flee.
Narrating their ordeal to newsmen, Mr. Obamwonyi Agbonlahor, spokesman to the Enogie of Uroho Community, alleged that police personnel and vigilante stormed their locality in three vehicles at about 2a.m in the morning.
“We interrogated them and demanded to know what their mission was, but they could not provide a satisfactory answer. Curiously, we spotted one of the suspected killers of Mr. Osagie Isiokhere among the invaders.
“After identifying him inside one of the vehicles. As we were about to apprehend, the suspect, one Mr. Igbinoba, they sped off, amidst gunshots. As they continue to fire gunshots to scare our people away, one of their vehicles got stuck at the roadside ditch before they fled the Community”, he said.
He said: “We immediately alerted police authorities at Ologbo Division in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area for rescue.
He explained that while they were waiting for the arrival of police personnel from Ologbo, suddenly, some police personnel from O/C anti-cultism unit of State Criminal Investigative Department (SCID) at the police headquarters in Benin City, stormed Uroho Community, and attempted to tow the abandoned vehicles away from the Community.
Obamwonyi further alleged that the action of the police, flared temper and confirmed speculation of the affinity of the law enforcement agency with the hoodlums.
He also called for the arrest and prosecution of the culprits to serve as a deterrent to troublemakers in the locality.
According to him, “Since the death of Mr. Isiokhere, father of five Children, this is the second time police from anti-cultism have come to harass our people”.
Widow of the deceased, Mrs. Esohe Osagie, alleged that since her husband was murdered, his killers still walk freely in the street, adding that the culprits should be brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.
Also speaking Mrs. Joy Ogieriakhi alleged that residents of the Community now live in perpetual fear since the Communal crisis started.
“We are helpless women. The government should come to our aid. We no longer sleep at night over the reign of terror”, she lamented.
On his part, Mr. Friday Erhauyi who resides in the Community, said they do not want to resort to self help, hence the need for authorities concern to bring the perpetrators to book.
He traced the Communal crisis to a failed attempts by disgruntled groups to establish a Camp in Uroho Community without the consent of the Duke (Ebogie) of Uroho and other authorities in the Community.
He accused a top Government official attached to Edo State vigilante Network of victimization and wondered why murder suspects they had declared wanted should be allowed to terrorize lawful Citizens in the locality.
Erhauyi said: ” We came out an interrogated them and demanded to know where they came from. They could not give a proper identification.
“We thereafter told them that the persons who came to kill our brother, Mr. Osagie Isiokhere on May 6, 2021, are now been aided by police to fight us. One Mr. Igbinoba also known as Gbuyaka was inside one of the vehicles. While we were trying to apprehend him, police operatives took him into the vehicle and ran away.
“We want the State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki to help us to call one of the top government officials said to be aiding the alleged killers to order and leave Uroho Community alone. He is the one sponsoring them.
“They said that they want to establish a Camp in Uroho Community without the consent of the Duke (Enogie) of Uroho and other authorities in the Community.
The protesters who were armed with placards were joined by a 90-year-old mother of the deceased, Mrs. Uvbi Osagie, lamented the death of the brwsd winner in the family.
Contacted, the Spokesman of the Nigeria police, SP Bello Kotongs, said that he was yet to be briefed about the incident.