Indigenes of Edo within Nigeria and in the Diaspora have expressed concern about the worsening security situation in the state.
They urged the state government to take adequate measures to address the menace.
This is contained in a statement issued by Dr Celey Okogun, the publicity secretary of UNUEDO Renaissance in Benin.
The statement said that the indigenes spoke at a webinar, the first in the series organised by the group held at the weekend.
It focused on issues and challenges bedeviling the state, as well as discussed workable immediate, medium or long-term solutions.
The event drew participation of more than 100 Edo sons and daughters from across the globe.
The theme of the webinar was “Edo State Security: Progress and Challenges”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that UNUEDO Renaissance is an organisation which comprises professionals of Edo extraction cutting across diverse fields of endeavor, with the common goal to unify all Edo people.
The webinar had as panelists, Mrs Omololu Ojehomon, the State Commissioner for Public Security and Safety,
Mr William Waba, a Chief Superintendent of Police and Chief Security Officer to the Edo Governor, Obaseki, and the coordinator of the vigilance network, Mr Oboh Emmanuel Otoide.
The indigenes said that the call had become necessary, following the incessant kidnappings, robbery, and random killings across the state.
They also urged the state government to enhance its partnership with the various communities and security agencies for protection of lives and property.
According to the indigenes, addressing the insecurity challenge in the state is a critical element for attracting investment.
They, however, commended Governor Godwin Obaseki on the establishment of a Ministry of Public Security and Safety.
They stressed the need for synergy among the government, security agencies and the volunteers in the Edo State Vigilante Network, adding that members of the vigilance group should be profiled, monitored and ensure that a standard operating procedure was established.
“This will guide their operations and reduce discretion in operation matters to the barest minimum, stipends should also be given to encourage members of the vigilance groups.
“Such stipends should be paid electronically to the bank accounts of beneficiaries.’’
The indigenes also charged the commissioner, Ojehomon to quickly develop the necessary policy and legislative framework to govern vigilance security operations through an Executive Bill to the Edo State House of Assembly.
They also urged her to ensure proper management and co-ordination of security fund raising efforts, equipment donations, and other support at all levels.
The statement quoted Waba as saying “the governor has continued to partner with security chiefs in the state to provide the needed support to enable them fight such violent crimes’’.
Waba said that the governor distributed operational vehicles to the Nigerian Police and other military and para-military organisations and the vigilance network to enhance their operations.
He said that gunboats and speed boats were also given to them to help the marine unit of the Police curb criminality and make the waterways safe.
According to him, the governor has also created the Edo Security Network across the 1,293 communities in the 18 local governments across the state.
Waba said that other measures were put in place to secure the Benin-Auchi road, following the incessant attacks along the road.
“Due to the incessant attacks by herders, the governor has established a joint task force operating presently at Ovia and Abudu (Edo South),’’ he said
The statement also quoted Ojehomon as saying “the state government is improving on the existing call-in lines for people to report in times of distress and also deployed technology to get real-time information’’.
She called on local government councils in the state to collaborate by clearing bushes on both sides of the roads, at least six feet.
“That way it is difficult for these kidnappers or robbers to be right there on the road and jump in front of a car and start shooting.
“You will see them coming and know what to do. We also need clearings around our borders, at least 200 feet, so we can see people who are entering Edo,’’ she said
The statement quoted the President of UNUEDO Renaissance, Mr Nuhu Yakubu as saying the aim of the webinar is to offer a platform for the security personnel in Edo to discuss developments, and compare notes with indigenes’’.
“The ultimate aim is to enable cross-pollination of ideas toward finding a workable way forward in a manner that can result in a convergence of thoughts and efforts for the benefit of the state and its people.
“The webinar is essentially about whether there are identifiable efforts by the state government in terms of security in your locality and if that effort is yielding fruits.
“If it is yielding fruits but not up to the optimum, what do you think is the reason such government effort is not beneficial and what can be done? That is essentially what we want to hear from ourselves.’’ (NAN)