Following the explosion that rocked Okpella community in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State, yesterday, the Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has directed the commissioner of police and the Director of Department of State Services (DSS) in the state, to commence search for explosives and other weapons and dis-arm the militia group operating in the community.
Obaseki gave the directive after listening to the traditional ruler of Okpella, His Royal Highness (HRH) Okuokpellagbe of Okpella, Alhaji Andrew Dirisu and chiefs from the different clans in the community who paid the governor a courtesy visit at the Government House.
He told his guests that the report of a bomb explosion in Okpella is disheartening and must be investigated.
It was gathered that a strange vehicle was seen in Okpella and when concerned people in the community stopped the vehicle, the occupants fled. In the process, one of the occupants set off a bomb which claimed the bomber’s life and his colleague in crime was apprehended. After interrogation, a bomb factory was discovered in the neighbourhood in the community.
In his response, Obaseki said he was worried about the events in Okpella, such as the reign of an armed group terrorising the community.
“We cannot pretend that things are fine. We must move arms out of private hands in that community and ensure peace returns to that domain.
“Your Royal Highness, if not for the explosion that rocked the community where one person died, you would not have known that explosives of such nature were in private hands in your domain. In the last one year Okpella has recorded the highest rate of incidents in Edo State. I cannot sit down without taking action,” the governor said.
He assured that his administration would do all within its power to ensure that all Edo people and residents in the state are safe and secure, promising to nip in the bud, the worrisome trend in Okpella.
He recalled the attack on his convoy by suspected members of BUA Surveillance Group during his recent visit to the palace of the Okuokpellagbe of Okpella, and described the attack as “unacceptable and an attack on the Edo State Government.”
He urged the managing director of BUA International Limited to come out and explain his role in the alleged sponsorship of a militia group in the community.
Earlier, the Okuokpellagbe of Okpella Andrew Dirisu commended the governor for his visionary leadership style exemplified by his consistent and swift responses to issues that threaten the peace of the state.
He called on the governor to put in place an alternative dispute resolution mechanism to address the Dangote-BUA issue, though the case is before a competent court.
Recall that the governor raised an alarm recently that some Edo youths in Okpella, were allegedly armed by BUA Cement, as a militia group based on intelligence report, a development Obaseki said could disrupt the peace in the area.