3rd July, 2022
By Jethro Ibileke
A 68-year-old suspected cultist, Okoh Peter, has been arrested in connection with the recent upsurge in cult-related killings in Benin City, capital of Edo State, during which eight rival cult members were killed within 24 hours.
Five other suspects, including 52-year-old Charles Odiase, were also arrested by police operatives in the state.
A statement by the Deputy PRO of the Command, ASP Jennifer Iwegbu, gave the names of the other suspects as Andrew Owhoyavwosa (22), Joseph Meshak (25), Osazee Solomon (35) and Godswill Obasohan (25).
She noted that the suspects were arrested by the men of the anti-cultism unit of the command who had been working round the clock with area commands and divisions to ensure that the ugly trend was stopped.
According to the statement, “On the 02/07/2022 at about 17:15hrs, operatives of Edo State Police Command, Ekiadolor sector while on routine township patrol within Ekowe community and environs intercepted some suspected cultists at the community youth house.
“The Suspects, on sighting the police operatives took to their heels from the scene of their unlawful assembly, this action attracted the attention of the operatives and they gave them a hot chase…”
“Items recovered from the suspects include two locally-made single barrel guns, one locally-cut-to-size single-barrel gun, 30 live cartridges, one first aid box, kolanuts, eggs, cowries, one dead chicken, seven handsets and a cash sum of N37,000.”
In a related development, operatives of the command, in collaboration with local vigilantes on Sunday, 3 July, 2022, at about 0230 hours, while on routine patrol along Igbe road, Auchi Etsako West LGA of the state, “intercepted a motorcyclist who was acting suspiciously.”
It was gathered that when the operatives attempted to stop the suspect, he fired a gunshot to scare the team of operatives to enable his escape but was subdued and arrested.
“On the spot search conducted on him led to the recovery of the following items; one locally-made cut-to-size single barrel gun, one live cartridge, one expended cartridge and one motorcycle with Reg. No. BEN-316-QP.
“During preliminary investigation, the suspect confessed to being a member of the dreaded Vikings Confraternity. Investigation is still on, the suspect will be charged to court at the end of the investigation,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the State Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro, has assured residents of the state that the Command would not relent in its efforts to rid the state of criminal elements and their cohorts.
Yaro further employed the general public to continue to collaborate with the police by providing prompt and credible information that would lead to the arrest of criminal elements.