Edo State Government says no fewer than 135 lives were lost to cult-related activities and community clashes in the state between July and December, 2023.
State Governor, Godwin Obaseki disclosed this to newsmen on Wednesday in Benin City shortly after the maiden Security Council Meeting for 2024, held with security chiefs in the State.
Obaseki said the 135 deceased residents were victims of the 500 cases of crimes recorded in the state in the period under review.
He noted that the government and security agencies in the State were working assiduously to check violent crimes and tackle cultism in the State.
The governor added that in the month of December alone, 83 cases of criminal incidents were recorded out of which 24 are homicide-related.
According to him, “we have just concluded the maiden Security Council Meeting for the year and reviewed crime indices, not only for December but for the last six months of 2023.
“We reviewed the data from July to December and noticed that the biggest security challenge we have in Edo State today is homicide, arising largely from cult-related activities and probably community clashes.
“From July to December 2023, homicide recorded the highest numbers of incidents in the state. From the month of December alone, out of the 83 incidents reported, 24 are related to homicide.
“For the last six months in 2023, for instance, out of 500 incidents reported, 135 had to do with homicide and we lost 135 people from mostly cult-related activities and community clashes.
“This is an issue of concern to the State and the Council took a decision to delve deeper into the data to understand the specific situation and reasons driving this high level of homicide in the State.”
The governor, however, noted that the Security Council mandated the Commissioner of Public Safety, Kingsley Uwagbale to work with security agencies to tackle cultism in the State.
He opined that cultism would be addressed from two distinct approaches, which include ensuring diligent investigation and prosecution of cult related crimes and ensuring high publicity.