Edo State Government has presented N10m cash and other relief materials worth millions of naira to the people of Bekuma in Akoko Edo Local Government area, who were affected in an attack on them by some youths from a neighbouring community on 30th March, 2016.
Presenting the N10m cash and 150 bundles of roofing sheets to the Oba of Bekuma, Oba Moses Alabi at the palace of the Otaru of Igarra, Oba Emmanuel Adeche Saiki II, on Sunday, Governor Adams Oshiomhole said anyone who ever again resorts to arson and killings in the name of reprisals will be prosecuted and sent to prison if convicted.
He said: “if we quarrel, we must not allow it to degenerate to madness as to begin to burn property, burn houses, destroy assets, or even kill people; which is absolutely unacceptable.
“We must work together, that is, the traditional institution, the local government and the state government, to identify criminals, it doesn’t matter what interest they pretend to canvass. Arson is a serious crime.
“Destruction of property is a very serious crime. Killing is a very serious crime. It is a capital offence in our legal system. I want to make it very clear: if anyone further resorts to acts of destruction, of killing, of arson, Edo State Government will prosecute immediately, and if we secure a conviction, we will send the person to prison. People like that belong in prison. Nothing justifies those levels of violence as to render anybody homeless.”
He commended the royal fathers in Akoko Edo Local Government for fostering unity among the people, saying “let me begin by appreciating your royal fathers, your royal highnesses for working together as royal fathers in Akoko Edo Local government because by working together, meeting together, having conversation on matters affecting the people, and various communities in Akoko Edo local government, you are leading the people by example.”
He continued, “The important thing, therefore, is irrespective of our locations, irrespective of our dialects, we belong to one race: the human race. And in this local government, you belong to just one local government, Akoko Edo local government, regardless of your dialect or language.
“We are bound to live together as one people because we are one people. We are bound to make friends across all divides. We are brothers; we are sisters.”
Oshiomhole advised, “So when we see some of our brothers misbehaving, doing things that bring hardship to other people, we shouldn’t visit the sin of one on every other person.
“I want to appeal to you, the Chief of Bekuma and the people of Bekuma to accept what has happened as God’s will, and be consoled by the fact there is no one that I know that has not condemned it in heart, beyond words of mouth, the unfortunate incident that threw your community into untold hardship.
“It cannot be justified. No one has the right to resort to arson. So, I to appeal to you to sustain what you are already doing, preaching to your people to accept the pains with the hope that this will not happen again, and that you derive some relief from the empathy and sympathy that has been shown by all the royal fathers in Akoko Edo and beyond.
“They have all condemned this act of violence, dehumanization and destruction of property and even destroying the school of small school children.
“On behalf of the people of Edo State, we present these roofing sheets to you, the Oba of Bekuma, to assist your community members whose houses were razed down in the unfortunate incident.
“We have also added N10 million to enable them buy wood, nails and other things. Whatever other support that we can do, we will arrange it through the committee and deliver to you over the next coming week. You will get another message from us.”
Responding the Otaru of Igarra Kingdom and Chairman of Bekuma rehabilitation committee, HRH Oba Emmanuel Adeche Saiki II said, “We cannot stop appreciating you. On behalf of the entire traditional rulers in Akoko Edo local government, I wholeheartedly appreciate you for your kind gesture for the donation of relief materials to Bekuma community in Akoko Edo as a result of the recent communal clash whereby some properties were destroyed.
“Your response to the incident goes to show that you are a symbol of honour, confidence and hope and exponent of human kindness to humanity.”
The Oba said, “We deeply appreciate you. We share the biblical view that when the righteous rule, the people rejoice. We pray that the God almighty to grant you many fruitful years, good health and requisite enablement to pursue your exemplary services to the people of Edo State and the country in general.”
Also speaking the traditional ruler of Bekuma, Oba Moses Alabi said, “I am deeply overwhelmed to sincerely appreciate a day like this, that really there are God-sent people, that you can make one not to lose his hope.
“On the 30th March, 2016 till today, no one has ever seen smile on my face, but today, the Comrade Governor has added smile to the faces of Bekuma.
“We indeed appreciate the relief materials you have given to us. It is not only the relief materials, but you have relieved our souls.”
It would be recalled that two persons were feared killed while about 40 houses, a public school and the palace of the village head of Bekuma were razed when some youths from a neighbouring community unleashed an attack on Bekuma on 30th March, this year.