By Ikhili Monday EBALU, Benin City
Ambrose Ali University, (AAU), Ekpoma have recently been in war of words with the Edo Police commissioner, CP Haliru Gwandu; over some burning issues.
Addressing journalists in his office last week, Gwandu frowned at the conduct of Prof. Sunday Edeko of the AAU as he disclosed that 14 beheaded bodies were discovered in the school due to activities of cultists.
According to him, on the 14 April, 2017, the Command noticed a sort of mischief and campaign of calumny against the police on the social media titled; Police brutalize Prof. Sunday Edeko of AAU which prompted him to do a rejoinder.
The CP who said the allegation was not true, and a deliberate attempt to blackmail the police, explained that Prof. Edeko encountered operatives of the Command who were in the University to enforce arrest of suspected cultists and tried stopping them.
The Professor who did not bothered to know the mission of the police before confronting them was later briefed at the Police Division, Ekpoma and has apologized for his action.
Gwandu narrated that on the 17 March, 2016, the Police at Ekpoma got a distress call that cultists were engaged in a fierce fight in which two persons were shot dead.
In response to the alert, anti-cultism squad was dispatched from the Police Headquarters in Benin to assist Ekpoma Division in arresting the suspects.
In the operation, four persons were arrested and their names were given as; Joseph Omoke, Mercy Aigbemfe, Aifoubhokhan Fedelix, and Stanley Abure Khalen.
On 23 March, 2016 in another operation on the orders of the CP, the Anti – cultism Squad arrested other six persons suspected to be cultists.
On searching the initial scene of the fight on campus; Malaysian Bar, and Rambo Secretariat, another 14 beheaded bodies were discovered and removed.
The suspects have all been charged and remanded in prison custody at Ubiaja, he said.
Exactly one year after, on the 13 March, 2017, one of the earlier arrested suspect identified as Denis Agidi was sighted at a very suspicious hide out in Ekpoma planning to launch another attack, Gwandu said.
Following intelligence report, the Anti – cultism squad swung into action and arrested the suspect.
It was in this operation Prof. Edeko confronted the Police without knowing their mission. But, “during his altercation with the Anti – cultism team on operation at Ekpoma, he was neither molested nor beaten,” Gwandu said.
On whether the Police will be pressing charges against Prof. Edeko, Gwandu responded: “Two wrongs do not make a right. Sometimes we do not need to join issues with people. But people should equally understand that everybody has a right.
“It doesn’t mean that you are a Professor or not. What is important, you should operate within the ambit of the law.
“When nothing happened, you don’t go inform the world that something happened. You don’t need to engage in the campaign of calumny against anybody.
“The Prof. did not do well because nobody expected him to tell lies against a constituted authority.”
The CP stated that the Police do not need to molest anybody as the instrument of law did not provide for that.
“If somebody commits offence, there are some procedures. You caution him, take his statement and charge him to court. We don’t need to beat anybody; we don’t need to molest anybody.
“Those that we have arrested with weapons, those who are into cultism, and those who are involved in cult related killings; are those we are going to charge to court.”
Gwandu however disclosed that there are some senior lecturers of the University that were apprehended with firearms. He declared that there is no going back as the Police was on top of the situation and those found culpable of cultism will be charged to court of law.
In reaction, the Association of Senior Staff Union of Universities, [ASUU], Ekpoma branch, has condemned CP Gwandu statement saying it was damaging to the image of the University as it was not true.
Calling on members of the public to discountenance allegations of the CP, the body said he wanted to paint a picture of hostility in the institution where there was none.
It therefore challenged the CP to provide evidence of his allegations especially the 14 beheaded bodies said to have been discovered at a scene of fight by cultists in the school even as it called for his deployment from Edo.
The body however stated that AAU was ready to partner with the law enforcement agencies to rid it of cultism and other related offences.
Hence it would not take sides or shield any of its students found in cult related activities from the public.
Also, Gwandu frowned at what he termed junk journalism against the police urging that journalists for the good of society should engage in positive journalism in which issues are cross – checked before they are published.