From Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Edo State Government has expressed sadness over the mysterious deaths of ten persons whose bodies were discovered at Ibillo in the Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of the state in the early hours of Tuesday.
The state Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, who conveyed the government’s feeling on the incident while addressing journalists in Government House, said the government has ordered an autopsy to be carried out to determine the cause of death, just as he said the police has been tasked to carry out a thorough investigation of the incident.
“This is about the issue that occurred in the bush path of Ibilo, a collaboration between our vigilante group, the hunters and the police. They discovered ten bodies of young men aged probably between 23 and 25.
“They were killed and there were no identifying marks to identify them or to even know the cause of death of these young men. The Edo State Government is very saddened by this occurrence especially when you look at the age bracket this is involving, so the government has ordered for an autopsy to be carried out for us to determine the cause of death also the police should investigate to find out who they are how they got there and what happened that you find bodies of ten young men.
“I think there was no sign of trauma or anything to determine how these men were killed or how they died. It was a very sad day and Edo State Government is not happy about this situation.
“But we also understand the security architecture that was able to patrol the bushes and came across these bodies, the Police, the Vigilante Group and also the Hunters in that neighbourhood, we were told were acting on very active intelligence or report, so that is for that”.
The commissioner also announced the donation of N12 million by the Afemai World Congress to support the activities of the state vigilante group in Edo North Senatorial District.
He explained that to encourage the state government had decided to add the sum if N36 million to the initial N12 million, making the total sum of money to come to N48 million.
“The entire N48 million will be given to the village and hunters group in Afemai to purchase vehicles, motorcycles and uniforms to boost their activities in the area. By this, the state government is assuring other groups that want to donate money to the vigilante in their areas that the government will triple any sum of money donated and hand over the same to the vigilante and hunters groups”, he said.
Speaking on the recovered land at Irhirhi-Obazafbon-Ogheghe by the state government, Nehikhare announced that it was discovered that the sum of N1.5 billion was collected by land grabbers in the locality between 2020 to 2022.
He reiterated the government’s resolve to put an end to the illegal act by retrieving the money for the restitution of the 499 victims that had been identified by the verification committee saddled with that exercise.
“The state government is determined to retrieve that money from the suspects and restitute the victims. So far, we have arrested 10 of the land grabbers and they will soon be charged to court.
“The government is also appealing to the Edo people to do due diligence on any property before development. This includes finding out if such land is encumbered and register their plans with the appropriate authorities. We also appreciate the support so far received from the Edo people,” Nehikhare said.
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