30 Days To Go! Anxiety Heightens Over Allegation of Arms Proliferation in Edo

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In a move seen as capable of further stoking the embers of tension in the state ahead of the September 19, 2020, gubernatorial election, the Edo State government has described as misleading and false a video circulating on social media with a footnote that a Dangote Truck was impounded in Benin City by the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), for allegedly conveying arms and ammunition and other contraband materials.

This, according to the Edo State Commander of NDLEA, Mr. Buba Wakawa is the mischievous attempt by some criminal-minded individuals to unnecessarily heighten political and ethnic tensions in the State despite the prevailing peace and security’.

“I am shocked by the deceit and false claim because the video being circulated was the seizure of a truck containing Cannabis Sativa that was intercepted by the Edo State command in November 2016. The case was charged to court and the perpetrators duly convicted. Unfortunately, the same video is being used to spread rumors aimed at creating fear and insecurity in the State. It is completely spurious and should be ignored” Wakawa stated.

Recall that the state has been in a state of heightened tension as the date of the polls draws closer over brewing acrimony between the incumbent governor of the state Godwin Obaseki and his estranged Godfather and Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomole.

This latest incident is seen in many quarters as a ploy to further heighten the tension in the state.

Wakawa urged Nigerians especially Southerners to disregard the rumor making the rounds that the supplies of ammunition to Benin City have been intercepted by Benin youths at Aduwawa area of the State meant for Hausa community.

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Tracing the origin of the truck, Wakawa revealed that the command intercepted a Dangote Truck at Enweh with 7,950kgs of dried cannabis concealed in bags of cement in November 2016.

“Investigation revealed that the driver, Segiru Amadu collected the sum of N1.3 million naira to transport the drugs to Maiduguri. The Agency got excellent cooperation from Dangote Cement Company in the said case. The driver who fled the scene of seizure was arrested by Dangote Cement Company and charged for breach of contract before a Kogi State Magistrate Court.

After serving his jail term in Kogi, he was brought to Edo State for the criminal trial of unlawful transportation of cannabis for which he was also convicted. Subsequently, Dangote Cement Company was given a clean bill of non-complicity in the case and equally commended for its high level of cooperation” he said.

Similarly, the Edo State government described the video circulating on social media as misleading.

According to a statement signed by the Special Adviser, Media, and Communication Strategy to the Edo State governor, Crusoe Osagie, the Edo State Government has since reached out to the NDLEA and can confirm that the video is completely misleading and that no Dangote Truck was at any time impounded for carrying ammunition in Edo State.

The deputy commander of NDLEA, Edo State, Peter Bisong, stated that the truck in the said video was one impounded by his men in 2016, where the driver was found to have connived with some persons to transport cannabis. No arm or ammunition was impounded in that exercise in 2016.

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He urged the general public to disregard the misleading video and appealed to those behind the promotion of the fake news and misleading message to desist from such mischievous acts.

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Babajide Okeowo
With a career spanning over a decade spent across the Business, Political and Entertainment beats of prominent media organizations in Nigeria, Babajide Okeowo has carved a niche for himself as a Journalist of repute. As a newsroom guru, he has penned several weighty narratives and designed content that speak to a news medium's values, vision and mission while ensuring that the content resonate pretty well with a variety of critical audiences across Nigeria and beyond. A consummate storyteller whose coverage of the business industry is valuable, Okeowo is blessed with a vast analytical mind and data interpretation skills. In his spare time, he interprets data for a Leading American University while also volunteering for a Non-Governmental Organization on Mindset Transformation. Okeowo is the Content Editor of The New Diplomat.

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