The Edo State Government has revealed that two village chiefs and five others have been reportedly apprehended in connection with the January 7 train attack which resulted in the kidnap of 20 passengers at the Igueben train station in Edo State.
Chris Nehikhare, the state Commissioner for Communication and Orientation disclosed this during a press briefing on Wednesday in Benin City, the state capital.
The Commissioner said seven other suspects had also been arrested in connection with the incident and they have been helping with the investigation.
Nehikhare added that two remaining passengers in captivity had also been rescued by security agents, stressing that all the kidnap victims have been rescued.
He however failed to reveal the names of the village chiefs, adding that further details would be given by the police.
He said: “ We are pleased to announce that the last two victims have been rescued and seven suspects including two village chiefs have been arrested in connection with the incident and they are helping with investigations. We thank the press for the support they have given in the last few weeks.”
Reacting to the development, the Executive Director, Esan Youth for Good Governance and Social Justice, Benson Odia, said the chiefs were innocent, adding that their arrest had political undertone.
In a chat with, Odia claimed that Governor Godwin Obaseki was behind their arrest for not supporting his political party, adding that the governor is trying to use them as scapegoats.
“You see, the government is playing politics. The chiefs were never accused of being a perpetrator or whatever. The arrest of those chiefs and the traditional rulers has political undertone because these days they are now partisan. They are not supporting his political party that is why the governor is trying to use them as scapegoats.
“Banditry was not only taking place in Igueben forest and Udo forest but because there was a train attack, the governor is now trying to use some traditional rulers as scapegoats.”