Two traditional rulers in Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State and five others have been arrested in connection with the abduction of 20 passengers during a train station attack in Igueben area on Saturday, January 7, 2023.
Also, security forces have secured the release of the two remaining hostages taken during the attack.
The two abductees rescued are staff of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).
The Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, announced this to journalists in Benin City on Wednesday.
He did not, however, reveal further identities of the two royal fathers and five others arrested with them.
“I am happy to inform you all the remaining victims of the Igueben train station attack have been rescued,” the Commissioner told journalists.
“As at today, none of the victims are in the hand of the abductors. Also seven persons which include two traditional rulers have been arrested in alleged connection with the train station attack,” he said.
The seven suspects are said to be under interrogation at the state police command headquarters in Benin City.
A source hinted that the traditional rulers were alleged to have compromised, having received undisclosed amount of cash and numbers of cows from cattle herders.
Thereafter, they allegedly allowed the herders to settle in strategic spots in Igueben forests from where they launched the attack on the train station.
It will be recalled that the Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, had during his visit to the rescued victims at the Police Cottage Hospital, Benin City, on Sunday, January 15, told journalists that he had instructed that traditional rulers be investigated and that anyone of them found to be harbouring people they should not harbour in their domains would have questions to answer.
“We are working and consulting with the Commissioner of Police and with the service chiefs because we have information that some traditional rulers, particularly in that area, are not respecting government decisions to make sure that grazing land are not given to herders in their forests,” the governor had said.
“If the monarchs had cooperated in their communities in line with government directive, there wouldn’t have been that kind of incident.”