Igueben: 12 more kidnap Victims Rescued as Obaseki Praises Security Forces, Faults Recalcitrant Traditional leaders, NRC
By Henry Oqua
The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki has lauded the security forces in the State for the rescue of 12 more victims from the attack on the Igueben train station. The Governor also faulted the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) and some local traditional leaders in the area who he said have refused to heed his directive to sieze open grazing in their domains.
“We are grateful that we’ve been able to secure the release of almost all the people who were kidnapped a week ago.
“It has been a gruelling experience and we hope it will not happen again. It tested the will of our security system and I’m glad that the system is resilient.
“You can see that in the last one week, we’ve been able to be on the trail of the kidnappers, we contained them to certain areas and they could not leave.” Obaseki said.
On Saturday, January 7, 2023, 6 armed men besieged the Igueben train station and kidnapped about 20 persons.
Visiting the latest 12 rescued victims at the Police Cottage Hospital in Benin on Sunday, January 15, 2023, the Governor stressed the need for improved security presence now, across the railway system to assure passengers of their safety, especially after the deadly attack on the Kaduna-Abuja bound train last year.
Obaseki praised the joint effort of the security system in the state for promptly rescuing the victims and driving out the kidnappers. Declaring that Edo State has something worth celebrating on this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
“Today, which is Armed Forces Remembrance Day, we have something to thank our security services for.
“We will continue to invest in the security system of the State and continue to encourage the collaboration of our security forces.” he said.
Explaining how the counter attack panned out, Obaseki said ground forces relied on drone technology and aerial support from the Airforce and Police.
He said “With intelligence and the aerial support we got from the Airforce and Police and the drone technology support, we were able to track them and secure the release of 12 out of fourteen victims unharmed and this is something worth celebrating”.
He also expressed his displeasure at the fact that on the day of the attack, the NRC had only one policeman, armed with a rifle protecting the station.
“I must also express our disappointment at the Nigerian Railway Corporation because, after the Kaduna incident, you would expect that they would secure their facilities better, but for six men to have come into their facility to kidnap people, I think it is something that has to be investigated.
“It doesn’t speak well of their preparedness to run an efficient rail system in this country. It doesn’t give confidence to Nigerians that they will be safe using that mode of transport.
“You cannot tell me that in a facility like the Igueben station, you had only one policeman with one rifle guarding that facility, particularly after what had happened in Kaduna.
Turning the heat on traditional leaders in the region who are accused of harbouring illegal cattle rearers in their domain, the Governor promised that they would be thoroughly investigated.
“We have information that some traditional rulers in that area are not respecting Government’s decision to make sure that grazing opportunities are not given to herders in their forests.
“I have instructed that those traditional rulers be investigated and anyone who is found to be harbouring people who they should not harbour in their domain, will have questions to answer. This is because in communities that have cooperated with that directive, we don’t have such incidents.
Asked if any ransom was paid, a visibly proud Obaseki said “There was no amount paid, the Special Forces went in there and overpowered the kidnappers who ran away with two of their victims.”
The Edo State Commissioner of Police, CP Mohammed Adamu Dankwara informed newsmen that two victims are still with the kidnappers who fled after being overtaken by the security forces while trying to move the victims to a new location.