…pledge to spare no resources, solicit citizens’ cooperation

The Edo State Government and the police in the state are leaving no stone unturned in their intensified efforts to ensure the safe release of the Chairman of the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Tony Aziegbemi.

Aziegbemi was abducted on Friday by gunmen on his way home after a meeting at the Government House in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

The Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Hon. Chris Nehikhare, in a statement on Saturday, said the government is working closely with security agencies to ensure Dr Aziegbemi’s safe release and return to his family.

“We have also increased surveillance and beefed-up security measures across the State to ensure that these criminal activities are quelled and culprits are brought to justice,” Nehikhare said.

“We encourage residents to go about their lawful businesses without fear and urge them to call the State emergency numbers 112 or 739 to report all suspicious persons or activities within their environs,” he said.

He reassured the public of the government’s commitment to protecting the lives and property of Edo residents, saying the government would spare no resources in ensuring that the perpetrators of the dastardly act are apprehended and made to face the full wrath of the law.

On its part, the Edo State Police Command, following the receipt of the news of Aziegbemi’s kidnap, immediately swung into action.

This followed a marching order given by the Commissioner of Police, Funsho Adegboye, to tactical team leaders to conduct a rescue party, in collaboration with vigilante groups and hunters, to rescue the kidnapped Edo PDP Chairman unhurt.

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Police Public Relations Officer, Edo State Police Command, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, who disclosed this in a statement on Saturday made available to journalists in Benin City, said the CP also solicited the cooperation of law-abiding citizens of Edo State and urged them to give information to the police that may lead to the arrest of the perpetrators and the rescue of the victim.

Revealing how Aziegbemi was kidnapped, Nwabuzor said the PDP Chairman, who had earlier attended a meeting at the State Government House, was returning to his house at about 2345hrs (a quarter to midnight) on Friday when the hoodlums numbering six accosted him and his driver close to his house.

“The information of his kidnap was received from his driver, one Joseph Impete, who reported the incident at the New Etete Division, Benin City,” Nwabuzor stated.

“The driver who is an eye witness to the horrible incident, reported that on 15/03/2024 the victim of kidnap Dr Tony Aziegbemi attended a meeting at the Edo State Government House, Benin City and on their way returning back home from the meeting, close to his house six (6) armed men on convoy of two white colour Toyota Corolla saloon car registration number unknown accosted them along Bishop, Dr J.O.E. Edokpolor Boulevard Junction, Off Country Home, Benin City.

“Immediately Dr Tony Aziegbemi jumped out of his ash colour Toyota Prado Jeep for the safety of his dear life, while he the driver also ran out of the vehicle and laid down on the ground, but the hoodlums chased Dr Tony Aziegbemi and threatened to shoot him if he refused to stop, so he stopped and they ceased him, threw inside his Toyota Prado Jeep and took him away to unknown destination,” he said.

Meanwhile, PDP candidate for the 2024 Edo State governorship election, Asue Ighodalo, has expressed shock over Aziegbemi’s kidnap, urging security agencies to ensure the safe return of the Edo PDP Chairman.

Ighodalo, in a statement on Sunday, described the news of the kidnapping of the Edo PDP Chairman as “extremely shocking and distressing”.

“I strongly condemn this dastardly act, and my heart goes out to the Aziegbemi family at this very trying time. I join the family in offering fervent prayers for his safe return,” Ighodalo said.

“I also urge the security agencies to continue to spare no effort in investigating the matter and working assiduously for our dear party chairman’s safe release,” he said.