The Commissioner of Police in Edo State, Mr. Johnson Kokumo, says the police would ensure the prosecution of all herdsmen involved in the alleged destruction of over 20 hectares of farmlands in the Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of the state.
Kokumo, who spoke with journalists in Benin, the Edo State capital, said, “We have received reports of the destruction of economic crops by the herdsmen and we are working to ensure that erring herdsmen are punished for whatever offence committed, by way of sending them to court.
“We will make them answerable to the offences committed. So, it is within the competence of the courts to punish where they see that an offence has been committed. It is not within the competence of the police to administer punishment. But we will ensure that they (suspects) go through the rigours of the court process.”
He, however, noted that farmers who took the law into their own hands would not be exempted from prosecution.
He added, “And we have equally seen instances where the farmers have been accused of some wrongdoings too.
“In both instances, whether it is the farmers that have wronged the herdsmen or the herdsmen that have wronged the farmers, what we will ensure is that we accept such complaints and charge the suspects in the circumstance to court.”
The Commissioner of Police dismissed reports of alleged serial killings by suspected ritualists around Upper Siluko in Ovia South-West Local Government Area of the state.
According to the reports, some motorcyclists in the Ogida axis of the area were alleged to have been abducted by suspected ritual killers.
The unknown ritualists were also alleged to have taken their victims into a forest in the area where they killed them.
But Kokumo said the command only received report about a case of murder, which it acted upon.
He said, “To the knowledge of the police, a murder case was recorded; it was reported to the police and it was investigated. The suspects (were) charged to court.
“So, if anybody says there has been a series of murder cases, I do not know where such murder cases were reported. I want to believe that it should be an assumption that some people do go there (forest) to kill.
“How many dead bodies have we recovered from the place? For anybody to convince me that the killing has been several or the place has been a hot spot where several murders have taken place in the past, they should be able to show me the dead bodies of those that have been killed.”
While highlighting the achievements of the command, Kokumo told journalists that the police intercepted a truck loaded with a petroleum product, suspected to have been siphoned from a pipeline at about 2.45am on January 14.
He disclosed that the product, suspected to be Automated Gas Oil, was packed in polythene bags in the vehicle, marked Kano-KMC-592-YD.
Kokumo also noted that three suspects, including the driver, were arrested during the operation, along Ogan-Ugo road in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of the state.
He said, “The driver, one Sale Mohammed; and his two assistants, Musa Suleiman and Umaru Mohammed, were arrested.
“The command uses this medium to appeal to the good people of Edo State to be vigilant and report any clandestine activity in their domain to the police for prompt attention.”