Edo State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr Emmanuel Agbale, has been reportedly kidnapped by gunmen who also killed his orderly.
The incident occurred on Friday along Benin-Ekpoma Road by Oil Palm Estate in Edo State.
The commissioner was on his way to Ekpoma when the gunmen reportedly opened fire on his vehicle.
It was learnt that the heavily armed men suddenly emerged from the bush and shot directly at Agbale’s car which forced the driver to stop.
“The police orderly was killed on the spot while the commissioner was whisked away,” a source told Sunday PUNCH.
The state Commissioner of Police, Lawan Jimeta, who confirmed the incident, described it as unfortunate.
Jimeta however said his men were already on the trail of the kidnappers in the forest, promising that they would be arrested.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, Ambrose Alli University chapter and the former Deputy Governor of the state, Dr Pius Odubu, condemned the kidnap of Agbale.
Odubu, while condemning the incident, bemoaned the increasing wave of criminal activities in various parts of the state.
He recalled that some criminals were last week reported to have murdered some farmers in Odighi community, Ovia North East Local Government Area of the state.
The ex-deputy governor lamented that the incidents happened at a time the people of the state were trying to stay safe from the coronavirus pandemic, calling for concerted efforts by security agencies and government to curb crime.
He said, “I want to draw the attention of the Inspector-General of Police, Director General of the Department of State Services and the army to pay special attention to Edo State. The state government should invest more in protecting lives and property.’’
Odubu enjoined the security agencies to fish out the perpetrators with a view to bringing them to justice.
He added, “No efforts should be spared in getting the commissioner released from captivity as the people of the state are now in perpetual fear in the midst of insecurity.
“The state must not pay lip service to security as the primary purpose of government is the security of lives and property. I condemn the incessant killings of farmers and other persons and the rising wave of kidnapping in our dear state.”
ASUU Chairman, AAU Chapter, Dr Monday Igbafen, in a statement on Saturday, said the union received with shock the news of Agbale’s kidnap.
“Our union decried the porous security situation in the country and urged the appropriate security agencies in the state to ensure his release unhurt without delay, while those involved should be fished out and prosecuted.
“The union also expressed its heartfelt condolences to the family of the killed police orderly,” Igbafen added.