A plot to murder an operative of the Edo State Security Network (ESSN) has been foiled in Benin City. This is as police in Edo clampdown on more cultists suspected to be behind several killings recorded in some parts the state capital, recently.

Among the suspects in police net are one Odion Atiku, who is alleged to have plotted with others now at large, to brutally kill an ESSN member identified as Essey Imafidon Iyama.

The Public Relations Officer for Edo State Police Command, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, disclosed that the Divisional Police Officer of Esigie Police Division acted on credible intelligence and picked Odion Atiku on January 28, 2024.

“On 28/01/2024 at about 2000hrs, the Divisional Police Officer of Esigie Division, Benin City, received information about the plan to kill one Essey Imafidon Iyama ‘M’, a member of the Edo State Security Network by hoodlums suspected to be cultists. Immediately, operatives stormed the area and arrested one ODION ATIKU ‘M’ who made a statement and confessed to the crime. Efforts are ongoing to arrest the other fleeing suspects,” SP Nwabuzor said.

He further stated that operatives from Esigie Police Division also responded to a tip off that some hoodlums suspected to be cultists were hibernating in a hotel along 2nd East Circular Road, Benin City, where four suspects were rounded up.

The police spokesman while parading suspected criminals before journalists in Benin City last week, also disclosed that police in Uromi apprehended some cultists terrorising that part of Edo State.

“On 06/02/2024, the operatives of Command surveillance team, while on township patrol, received information that hoodlums operating with one unregistered white Corolla Car kidnapped one Daniel Eromosele ‘M’ along Atani, Uromi, Edo State. Immediately, the operatives moved to the scene and arrested one Endurance Otoibhili ‘M’ 26 years and Destiny Iloegbu ‘M’ 24 years and recovered the vehicle while other suspects took their heels chanting the slogan Aiye Axe-men. The suspects made statements and confessed to being members of Aiye Secret Cult confraternity. They will soon be in court,” he said.

Arms and ammunition were paraded as exhibits recovered from the suspects.

It will be recalled that operatives of Edo Police Command had in 2019 arrested a member of a four-man armed gang who were on a mission to kill a middle-aged man in Benin City.

One locally made pistol and a grey Toyota Camry car marked Edo CW-726-BEN were recovered from the suspect as other members of the gang fled.

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The middle-aged man who was to be killed identified simply as Sunday was hanging out at a bar on Iyobosa Street, Off First East Circular Road, Benin City, when the gang’s informant, a young lady who was also at the bar, quickly contacted through a phone call to them.

On receipt of the information, the four-man armed gang swiftly moved in their operational car owned by one of them as policemen on township patrol intercepted them about 120 metres to the bar.

Three members of the gang, Pepper, Lucky and Sharpman escaped but the driver Leviticus Okon was apprehended.

The then commissioner of police in Edo, CP Dan Malam Mohammed, said, “On Monday, March 4, 2019, operatives of anti-Cultism unit while on township patrol along 2nd East Circular Road, Benin City accosted one grey colour Toyota Camry Reg. Edo CW-726-BEN, arrested one Leviticus Okon “m’ while three of others took to their heels.

“The suspect confessed being a cultist, his vehicle was searched, one locally made pistol and a grey Toyota Camry car Reg. No. Edo CW-726-BEN recovered”.

Speaking with our reporter at the state police command headquarters in Benin City, the suspect Leviticus Okon, 24, stated that his gang were on a revenge mission when he was arrested.

He said they wanted to avenge the killing of one of their gang members identified as John Terry allegedly killed last February by a gang of a rival cult (Black Axe) at 2nd junction in Benin City.

“My name is Leviticus Okon, I am 24 years old. I am Eiye man, I joined in 2018 at Sapele Road. We were going to kill the boy who killed our member when police arrested me.

“About 8pm three weeks ago, my friend Lucky received a call from his girlfriend that the boy Sunday that joined the Aiye men that killed our friend John Terry was in one bar at Iyobosa Street in 2nd junction area.

“Our friend Pepper joined us they said I should drive, Lucky was to pull the trigger. We were four inside the car. As we were approaching the drinking spot police stopped us, we all ran away from the car. They pursued and arrested me,” the suspect narrated.