A bomb explosion is reported to have killed one person in Edo State on Monday, according to a statement from the state government.
The statement issued by the Government House, Benin City, on Tuesday said the explosion occurred in Okpella community, Etsako East Local Government Area.
The statement said a bomb-making facility has also been discovered in the area.
There has been tension and skirmishes lately in Okpella because of a festering dispute between Obu Cement Company and a rival company, Dangote Group over the ownership of a mining site in the area.
The state government claimed, about two weeks ago, that Governor Godwin Obaseki’s convoy was attacked in Okpella by militants allegedly instigated by the Managing Director of Obu Cement Company, Yusuf Binji. The police had said that they were not aware of the “attack”.
Mr. Obaseki on Tuesday directed the police and the State Security Service, SSS, to search for explosives and other weapons in Okpella and also disarm local militia operating in the area.
“We cannot pretend that things are fine. We must move arms out of private hands in that community and ensure peace returns to that domain,” Mr. Obaseki was quoted as telling the traditional ruler of Okpella, Andrew Dirisu, who led other chiefs on a courtesy visit to the governor.
“Your Royal Highness, if not for the explosion that rocked the community where one person died, you would not have known that explosives of such nature were in private hands in your domain,” the governor said.
“In the last one year, Okpella has recorded the highest rate of incidents in Edo State. I cannot sit down without taking action.” The governor gave the assurance that his administration would do its best to make the state secure and safe.
The traditional ruler was said to have appealed to the governor to find an alternative means of resolving the dispute between the Obu Cement Company and the Dangote Group, outside the court.
PREMIUM TIMES couldn’t get the police to comment immediately on the reported bomb explosion in the state.
The police spokesperson in the state, Chidi Nwabuzor, did not pick calls or respond to the text message sent to his phone line