No fewer than 11 officials of the Edo State government were among the 56 persons arrested by the Police in connection with cult-related killings in Benin City, the capital, the Daily Times learnt on Thursday.
The state government described the development as “shocking” and called for calm among the residents.
A special squad was set up by the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, following recent cult-related killings in the state capital.
About 10 persons had reportedly been killed in reprisal attacks by cult groups in the state.
The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Louis Odion, in a press statement on Thursday, expressed shock at the development.
He said that the state government would not want to “jump to conclusion” on the issue, but noted that the alleged complicity of government officials negated the values of the governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who he said had waged relentless war against cultism in the state.
Odion, however, assured the people that the rule of law would take its course if the officials were found guilty.
The statement read, “The reports came as a big shock to us. While it is inappropriate to jump to conclusion until police investigations were concluded, let me put it on record that cultism, in whatever form, negates the values Comrade Adams Oshiomhole holds dear.
“This is easily verifiable from his zero tolerance of thuggery and any form of political violence over the years. If found guilty, be rest assured that the Comrade Governor will ensure the rule of law prevails against officials involved.
“We encourage members of the public to cooperate with the police to root out cultism from our neighbourhood and communities.”
The Edo State Police Command said investigation had commenced into the matter.