Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has called for increased synergy between the government and security agencies to tackle the proliferation of arms and combat insecurity in the state.
The governor, who received the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya at the Government House in Benin City on Tuesday, appealed for the setting up of military base in areas prone to kidnapping and armed robbery along Benin – Auchi Road.
Obaseki also received the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, stating the need to set up a special squad to tackle arms build-up in Edo communities.
Speaking to the Army chief, Obaseki noted: “First, l have to commend you and your men for the cooperation that we have continued to enjoy with them. However, we are still having security challenges, especially the spate of kidnapping on Benin – Auchi axis.
“We have military formations in Edo South, as well as in Auchi and Agenebode, both in Edo North Senatorial District; so that 120 kilometers space between them does not have any military presence, hence it is difficult for them to respond either from the Edo South or North when there is an incident.
“I appeal to the Nigeria Army to consider setting up a forward operating base to close the distance between the Edo North and South, as that will help us cover the axis where we are beginning to experience a lot of incidents.”
The governor continued: “The 4th Brigade has been very helpful in terms of supporting our community crisis. We also appeal that you support us with a special squad to complement our efforts in calming the restiveness that we are seeing around communities, largely because of land disputes.
“We have laws in place that will help us deal with these issues, but when these communities find out that there are heavily armed men within their communities, peace will return to the affected areas.”
“I want to say that we are very happy with you and will continue to support you by providing some logistics to ensure that you function optimally,” Obaseki assured.
Urging the IGP on the need for a special squad to tackle arms buildup in the state, the governor said: “One main challenge that we are faced with as a state is that of land grabbing, which has resulted in conflicts and arms buildup in our communities.”
“We have enacted a law to tackle this challenge and set up special court that can prosecute anyone guilty to about ten years imprisonment.
“We will be seeking your assistance to help us set up a special squad to handle this problem, especially the arms buildup in communities across the state. Some of these people have continued to pile up arms as they use sophisticated arms against themselves; this, we will not tolerate.
“As a governor, my responsibility is to provide protection and security for Edo people and I can’t do it alone without your support,” he noted.
Earlier, the IGP commended Obaseki for ensuring synergy between the government and the police. “Edo State is the best amongst states in the federation in terms of community policing.
“The federal government has adopted community policing to complement other security agencies to reduce crime and criminality in the nation.”
On his part, the army chief disclosed that he was visiting formations and units in the army to interact with officers and men on ground to motivate them.