April 28, 2015
The cold-blooded murder of a 27-year-old barber this Tuesday afternoon by gunmen suspected to be cultists has raised the number of persons killed in parts of Edo and Delta as a result of cult-related activities.
Life was reportedly snuffed out of the barber at New Benin in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area of Edo State, when his assailants accosted him in front of his shop and shot at a close range, killing him instantly.
Of recent, cult activities have literally extended from higher schools of learning to the streets among artisans, including carpenters, roadside mechanics, and tailors in both states.
Aside the late barber, identified as Patrick, another man was reportedly killed at about 7am, at Second East Circular road, in Benin, the state capital earlier today.
An eyewitness, 65-year-old wood seller, Mrs. Philomena Evbuomwan, said the gunmen shot their victim in the head and chest and ensured that he was dead before they left.
“I was selling wood when Patrick greeted me. I later sat with him. Suddenly, three boys walked towards us. One pointed a gun at my head and later dropped it. He shot Patrick; the other one also fired a shot.
“The third person took his gun and tapped Patrick. When he saw that he was dead, they ran away. After that, I fainted”, a distressed Evbuomwan said.
The two deaths today, bring the number to at least 25 in the last few weeks carried out by suspected cultists in Edo and Delta, particularly in Ughelli.
Cult-related deaths have become an issue of concern to residents of both states, who argue that the police have not done enough to curtail the situation.
A gale of deaths had also embroiled Benin earlier this year, when at least 20 persons were killed in different parts of the city, following a renewed cult war between suspected members of Eiye Confraternity and Black Axe.
Areas affected included Idu Owena, Ugbowo, Isihor, Ugbiyoko, Textile Mill Road, New Benin and Igbesanwa.
The renewed cult clashes prompted Governor Adams Oshiomhole to convene an emergency security meeting to fish out the killers.
Few days later, five persons were reportedly killed when the cultists (who often mobilise support for some political parties) clashed again after a disagreement at a polling centre in Benin City, during the House of Assembly election in the state.
A disagreement that snowballed into a major conflict on the eve of Christmas last year, reportedly led to the death of about 36 people in Benin, although the police claimed that just six persons died.
In the Edo state capital, the rivalry is usually between members of Eiye confraternity and the Black Axe secret cult. The police have always claimed to be in control of the situation.
Also in Delta, five persons suspected to be members of two rival cult groups were killed in a renewed clash, which started last Sunday at Ughelli, Ughelli North Local Government Area of the state.
The killings reportedly occurred at Osia, Omosivwe, Orobase, Pipeline, Adagharagba and Upper Agbarho Streets of Ughelli, Delta central.
A few days ago, an Ughelli businessman, Michael Onajiyovwi (aka Onamike), was killed by suspected cultists, also in Ughelli North Local Government Area of the State. His killing added to several other killings in the area by suspected cultists.
Onajiyovwi was shot dead at a popular drinking spot belonging to his wife on the Ughelli end of the East/West Road. He was an electrical parts dealer.
In the same vein, a suspected cult group on Saturday cut off the right hand finger of a man simply identified as Papa Oke.
Reports say the deadly cultists were in search of a rival member simply identified as Alex at a 3bedroom apartment at No.7 Onokpasah Street in Ughelli unaware that Alex had moved out.
They mistook Papa Oke who packed into the 3bedroom apartment with his family barely a week before the attack for the unidentified rival cult member they were looking for.
The Nigerian Times reports that the apprehension of no less than 140 young persons, among them 40 females, by the police within the Ughelli A Division, for cult activities recently, has not in any way reduced the bloody clashes.
In fact, during their arrests while being initiated, the suspected cultists invited about six army officers who stood guard at the entrance to the hotel with their security van, raising fears that some security personnel might be complicit.