The Edo State Police Command has said that 16 students of the state-owned Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, have so far been beheaded in cult-related attacks.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Haliru Gwandu, made the disclosure on Wednesday when he briefed newsmen in Benin City on the successes of the command in the last three weeks with the arrest of 61 suspected armed robbers, kidnappers, cultists and rapists.
Gwandu, who stated that 17 suspected cultists have been arrested with assorted arms, explained that 16 other students in the institution were beheaded during a recent cult war.
He said that some senior lecturers at the AAU who were abetting cult activities in the area would not go free as the long arm of the law would meet them with stiff punishment.
The police chief said that leakages in the boundaries between Edo with other states have been blocked with adequate security put in place to ensure crime rate is minimally reduced.
Gwandu however called on parents and other stakeholders to be on guard and educate the people on the need to shun cultism because the command will not rest until Edo is rid of any form of criminality.
The Police Commissioner explained that, “My Anti-Cultism Unit was there (university) on a distress call on March 17, 2017. There was a serious fight between cult groups and incidentally, two students were beheaded. We dispatched the unit to assist the division.”
He lamented that some suspected cultists who were arrested by the command and undergoing trial were seen outside prison mobilising to cause more havoc in the university.
“Having gone there, we were given an intelligent report that one of those who were arrested initially and taken to prison was sighted around the school. The anti-cultism unit went into action; the name of the person they sighted was Dennis Agidi. Some of his mates were in prison but he was sighted outside and he was seen in a meeting with other cult members. The anti-cultism team surrounded the place and arrested them all.
“The university community made a call that cult groups had killed so many people. At a point when two were killed and at a point, they went to inspect a site, they discovered more than 14 beheaded students.
“There were some senior lecturers who were arrested with firearms. We are going to arrest those who have been mentioned and those who are real cultists and charge them to court,” Gwandu said.
But in a swift reaction, the university management debunked the claims by Gwandu that some senior lecturers with arms have been arrested for their involvement is cult activities.
The school’s Deputy Registrar, Information/Public Relations Officer, Mr. Edward U. Aihevba, described the claims as false and embarrassing.
He said: “The management of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma is horrified by the false news story making the rounds in the print, electronic and social media, credited to the Edo State Commissioner of Police, that three lecturers of the university have been arrested for alleged cult-related activities. The commissioner is reported to have further said that firearms were recovered from the arrested academics and that a double-barrel gun, single barrel gun and one pump action gun were recovered from a professor.
“The Commissioner of Police was further reported as saying that 14 dead students were discovered at the particular time they went to inspect a particular site.
“The Police Commissioner is reported to have said that they have a lot of issues with our particular university. The university hereby debunks these statements as totally false and embarrassing,” he said.