Resident of Benin City, the Edo State Capital are currently living in fear following increase in armed robbery attacks by hoodlum who operates in Audi cars under the disguise as commercial cab operators.
The bandits have in the past three weeks had raided different locations including major roads, streets and residential buildings where they dispossessed unsuspecting victims of cash and other valuables.
Leadership investigations revealed that some of the robbers who disguise as cap operators carry out their raids in the early hours of the day when commuters are either hurrying to work or market and in the evening hours of the day when there less presence of police night patrols within remote and lonely areas.
Findings also show that targets of the robbery attacks have been those on busy roads, beer parlours or drinking spots and in passengers who board caps where the suspects numbering either three or four including ladies who are often sandwiched in-between them to deceive unsuspecting passengers who board the vehicles.
Last week before the Easter celebration, the state Correspondent of the Leadership Newspaper Ltd, Mr. Patrick Ochoga, was dispossessed of about N50, 000 by a four man gang including a lady at the back seat along Airport road while taking his son to school in the early hours of the day.
Also, armed men in a Camry car and mask had on Friday last week stormed a drinking spot located on Owina road, off Ekenwan road and ordered everybody to lie down and collected their belongings including cash after attacking them with dangerous objects and gun.
Barely 48 hours after the Owina attack, residents of Trade Fair road area in Benin City were forced to remain indoors for hours on Sunday night as dare devil bandits raided the people with any challenge even as fun seekers who were on their back home scampered for safety as guns boomed within the areas.
Although, there has been presence of police men on stop and search and those on motorized patrol in parts of the capital town.
In addition, the command has set up a tactical team of anti robbery squad, anti kidnapping and SCID teams to stem the tide of miscreants in parts of the state.
Efforts to get the comment of the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Moses Nkombe yesterday failed as his phone was switched off while the state commissioner of Police, Mr. Haliru Gwandu could be reached for reaction on the incidents.
The ugly developments may not unconnected with the recent proscription of activities of members of various community development associations (CDAs) in the state following the passage of a bill to that effect by members of the state house of assembly and signing of same into by Govenror Godwin Obaseki, an action that is backed by Oba Ewuare 11 of Benin Kingdom.
Consequently, the immediate past Inspector General of Police, ex-IGP Solomon Arase has been appointed to head the body charged with the responsibility of monitoring the effectiveness of the ban order and implementation of measures to stem the activities or otherwise of anybody in the name of CDAs in parts of the state whose violent acts before had cost the state loss of many lives due to squabbles and crises over illegal land speculations and related cases.
Besides, the state government had on January 1, 2017 also banned all forms of illegal ticketing by agents or bodies hired by the past administration in all the 18 local government councils
Worse as the situation is, residents have also blamed the raids, especially, at night hours to deplorable power outages in most parts of the capital town despite the protests and bitter complaints against the authority of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) led government of Governor Obaseki is battling to rid the streets of Benin and its environs of these suspects hoodlums and others engaged in criminal activities.
Most critics and residents have complained about the chaotic state of the Kings Square and other dark spots which serve as hideouts for some of the suspects who lurk around public corners where they unleash terror on residents of the state