The Edo State Government and the Police Command in the state have mandated Chairmen of the 18 local government areas in the state to replicate the ongoing bush clearing along federal highways in their domains to flush out kidnappers hiding in the bushes.
Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, said on Friday that the strategy to clear road sides of bushes has engendered confidence in the minds of travellers and drivers plying the Benin-Lagos road.
“At the state level, we are clearing bushes on the highways in partnership with the Edo State Police Command and local government chairmen have been mandated to carry out similar exercise on road sides in their domains, in partnership with heads of divisional police formations” Osagie said.
He added: “We are of the firm belief that a mix of strategies, including the clearing of the bushes on road sides would reduce the incidence of herdsmen attacks and kidnappings.”
The governor’s aide explained that the bush clearing initiative is a response to the nefarious activities of criminals perpetuated in the thick bushes on the highways in the state.
He noted: “Our plan is to cascade this initiative to the local councils and rid our roads of criminals. We appeal to village and community heads to mobilise youths in their areas to clear bushes on road sides in their communities.”
Recall that the Edo State Government and the State Police Command commenced the bush clearing exercise earlier in the week in a move to check activities of kidnappers terrorising motorists along Benin-Lagos Road.
Addressing journalists at Okada Town on Thursday, the Edo State Commissioner of Police, DanMallam Mohammed, said the bushes would be cleared 30 meters away from both sides of the expressway close to Ore axis of the Benin-Lagos Road.
He noted, “We found out that the kidnappers take advantage of the deep forest close to the expressway to hide their victims. With support from the Edo State Government, we are clearing the bushes along both sides of the road. With this, we can get a proper view of the forest and also apprehend the kidnappers when they try to run out of the forest.”
The state Police boss said members of the Command will patrol deep into the forest daily to ensure the camps of the bandits are destroyed while security presence had been beefed up along the Benin – Lagos Express Road.
He said the state police command had earlier raided the forest and destroyed hideouts before embarking on clearing of the bushes, adding, “This is a strategic security measure put in place to curb the spate of banditry and kidnapping in the state. The exercise started in the last two weeks in order to kick out bandits and kidnappers from the state.”
Motorists plying the Benin – Lagos Road, who witnessed the clearing exercise, commended the Police and the Edo State Government for the initiative to check activities of kidnappers.