Ban on Okaigheles stands – Obaseki dares Oba of Benin

The Edo State Government has reiterated its decision to ban Okhaighele (youth leaders) in the Edo South Senatorial District, alleging that they and cultists pose the most severe threat to the security and stability of the state.


Recall that the Palace of the Oba of Benin had on Friday, June 7, 2024, rejected the decision by the Edo State Government to ban the youth leaders in the seven local government areas that make up the Edo South Senatorial District.


Reacting to the decision of the Palace, the State Government, in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, and made available to newsmen in Benin City over the weekend, stated that the government is not rescinding its decision to ban the Okhaigheles.


Nehikhare said the state government reaffirmed its decision to ban the activities of Okhaigheles and cultists in Edo South communities due to the alarming rise in cult-related activities and resulting homicides in the region.


He stated that the decision was made in the interest of public safety and to curb the growing violence that has plagued the communities.


Nehikhare explained that Edo State Security Council data showed that Okhaigheles and cultists pose the most severe threat to the security and stability of the state.


The commissioner opined that the data led the Council to place a total ban on these criminal groups.


According to him, while the state government respects the traditions and customs of the communities, it is important to note that the safety and security of citizens must always come first.


“Chief Osaro Idah, Obazalu of Benin’s contradictory statement does not change the gravity of the situation at hand, and we stand by our decision to enforce this ban on Okhaigheles to protect the lives of our people.


“The state government notes that statements like the one made by Chief Idah embolden these criminals to take up arms against ordinary citizens, the military, police, and other constitutional security agencies.


“For example, on Friday, June 7, 2024, some so-called youths opened fire on three members of the Nigerian Army attached to Okomu Oil Palm Plc. in Ovia South West Local Government Area, injuring them and throwing the community into pandemonium.


“In the coming weeks, the government will proceed with a full-scale operation to disarm these criminal elements and neutralize their threat against public peace.


“We reiterate that the activities of cultists, Okhaigheles, and their sponsors remain banned in the state, and we will spare no effort to ensure that those who flout the ban are made to face the full weight of the law,” he said.


The government, however, warned in the strongest terms that it would not allow any individual or organization, no matter how highly placed, to undermine the efforts of the State Security Council to protect the lives and property of the people.


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