…Hon. Pally Iriase laments kidnapping, maiming and raping spree in Owan East
Hon. Pally Iriase, the Deputy Majority Whip of the House of Representatives, representing Owan East/West Federal Constituency in Edo State, says, in this interview, that bandits have been terrorising Edo North.
By Emman Ovuakporie
You have alleged that bandits almost in the form of Boko Haram have been terrorising your constituency. How are you sure they are local bandits?
No, they are not. It has become very urgent and important to cry out about the unrelenting atrocities perpetrated by these armed bandits in Owan East, Akoko-Edo and parts of Etsako in Edo State.
The once peaceful and vast forests bordering Auchi, Warrake, Ivbiaro, Ikpeshi, Ihievbe-Ogben, Otuo, Igarra and Sasaro have been taken over by heavily armed bandits who established “no-go-area” camps. On daily basis, these armed men take over the roads and farms in the area, kidnapping people for ransom, killing, maiming and raping people in their farms and destroying crops on massive scale.
The road from Ihievbe-Ogben to Otuo witnesses daily kidnapping. Recently, an expatriate staff on construction site at Otuo Dam was kidnapped on that road when he was going to the site from Auchi.
The bandits kept him in their forest camp for almost a week, negotiated and extorted huge ransom from the construction company before he was released. He has since left Nigeria.
Also, recently, a man and his wife were attacked in their farm at Ivbiaro and the bandits raped the man’s wife in his presence. Auchi-Warrake-Ivbiaro Road is just as notorious for daily attacks and kidnapping just as Ibillo-Auchi and Ihievbe-Ogben to Otuo roads. Farms are raided and burnt with impunity. The people are suffering in silence because these crimes are not reported for the fear of reprisal attacks which are often more deadly.
And there has been no help from security agents?
The irony of the situation is that there are army formations at Agenobode in Etsako East LGA and Nichoho Barracks at Auchi in Etsako West LGA. There is also a mobile police formation at Iyamho in Etsako West. If these security forces are coordinated and work in concert to flush out these bandits from their camps, security will be restored to Edo North.
I hereby call on the military and police chiefs in Edo State to clear these criminal camps before they develop into safe havens for terrorists like Boko Haram.
These bandits may well be members of the terror gang that have been dislodged from the North because, if you see the sophistication of their weaponry, if you see their audacity, if you see the mindlessness with which they go about their banditry, and their quest to extort ransom, you will know that these men are not herdsmen, they are pure terrorists.
What they are doing is to create a safe haven in the forest around Edo North and I believe that if this is allowed, whatever we are suffering now in the North-East will be transferred to the South.
They are not locals; if they are locals, all you will know them for is this cut to size locally made pistols or at best pump action. You are talking about people wielding machine guns. AK 47 is the least weapon you see them carrying, so they are beyond what people call herdsmen and they are sharp shooters.
All those they have killed, they get them with one shot. If you are running, just know you are gone; just make yourself available and pay whatever ransom they are talking about and, like I said, the people are suffering in silence.
There has to be an effort by the military and the police to and this high level banditry. The primary objective of governance is to secure life and property and that is why it is very urgent and important that this clarion call be heeded so that we don’t have a terrible blow out that will not be easy to contain.