The echoes of self-determination agitators reverberated in Benin City, Edo State capital, on Wednesday, as the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of Operation Restore Peace in South-South region, Moses Jitoboh, raised the alarm that members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, have infiltrated the state with the intent of spreading the gospel of secession.
DIG Jitiboh, who made the disclosure at a stakeholders meeting and the launch of Operation Restore Peace in Benin City, listed the areas the group had started congregating in Edo State to include Igbanke, Ubiaja, Iguelaba, Igueben, Okhiahe and Ologbo.
While noting that Edo and Bayelsa States had enjoined relative peace in the South-South region, the top police officer stressed that the two states must not allow any group or group of persons to puncture the peace with the gospel of secession.
He, therefore, called on the people of the communities mentioned to report any unusual gathering in their domains to security agents for urgent attention, adding that it would be of greater benefit to the generality of the people if such agitation was nipped in the bud, than allow it to fester into something bigger.
The DIG added that his mission in the region was to restore peace in line with the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari, who inaugurated Operation Restore Peace in the troubled regions of South-South and South-East.
Jitoboh, in his response to the request by stakeholders for the police to profile those recruited into the vigilance group in the state, asked the State Commissioner of Police to work in synergy with the heads of the group to remove the bad eggs.
The cop, who noted that policing a state is not an easy task, stressed the need for the police to work hand-in-hand with the vigilante to bring about the desired peace in the state.
Participants at the stakeholders’ interaction session harped on the need to ensure that criminal elements were not recruited as members of the vigilante groups.
One of the participants, Mr Odiase Ehiabhi, called on the state government to properly profile those recruited into the vigilance group, noting that some of the members belong to various cult groups.