Tony Osauzo, Benin
Violent crime and armed robbery have assumed a frightening dimension in Benin City, the Edo State capital, since hoodlums in the guise of #EndSARS protesters broke into the two Correctional Centres in the city and set free over 1,900 inmates, including 120 condemned criminals.
Individuals, hotels, guest houses and business centres have become targets, with the latest robbery incident at a Guest House less than 500 metres from the entrance gate of Edo Government House.
No fewer than 13 occupants and staff of the Guest House were reportedly robbed Wednesday night and the manager critically injured and currently receiving treatment in a private hospital in Benin.
The plight of residents has become hopeless as the police are yet to return to the streets, following the burning of several police stations and injuries sustained by some policemen in the aftermath of the protest.
Narrating his experience of the Wednesday night robbery yesterday, a victim at Guest House said the robbers had a field day as they moved from room to room, tied their victims and carted away both food and drinks.
“The incident happened at about 3 am on Wednesday. They spent over one hour moving from one room to the other.
“They came in around 3 am immediately after the public light went off. They first pounced on the security man who was going to put on the generator, they tied him hand and legs and then went to the reception where they took the Accountant who they forced to lead them to each of the rooms and ransacked and took everything from us; our phones, money and other things.
“They were six in number and four of them carried guns while the others carried machetes which they used on the ear and head of the manager of the hotel.
“The robbers also went away with all the cooked food in the kitchen, carried all the drinks in freezers leaving only water and soft drinks. They tied everybody hand and leg and also had the luxury of drinking some of the beer and then loaded the remaining ones and the food into an SUV van owned by a guest and then went away with the vehicle”.
Police Public Relations Officer of the Edo State Command, Chidi Nwabuzor, said they would soon be back on the streets.
“The Inspector-General of Police visited us yesterday (Wednesday) and he has energised the men and apart from the IG, the governor, His Excellency Governor Godwin Obaseki, the governor of Edo State, has equally energised the men. So, very soon you will see that action will start”, Nwabuzor added.