The Commissioner for Police (CP) Mr Lawan Jimeta, told newsmen, in Benin that the figure represented the suspects arrested for kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism, murder, fraud and car theft during the year under review.

The Commissioner, Edo State Police Command, Lawan Jimeta, on Thursday said the command would be firm, but fair in enforcing a total lockdown should the State Government order such.

Jimeta gave the assurance on Thursday in an interview with newsmen in Benin.

He explained that because the Edo State Government had not ordered or directed a total lockdown in the state, the police command and other security agencies could only sensitise the public on the dangers of the spread of the coronavirus in the state.

He appealed to their conscience to do the right thing and adhere strictly to measures already put in place by the state government in containing the spread of the pandemic in the state.

He said the command would also work according to the Inspector General of Police’s directive as well as the human rights guidelines.

Jimeta said: “If government decides on a total lockdown in the state, it will not be as punishment on the citizens because they are not just part of the society, but also part of the government.

“So, government should come up with measures to ease the hardship that a total lockdown would foster on the people.”

The commissioner therefore called on residents to respect the partial restriction of movement put in place by the state government to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that the restriction would give the state government the opportunity to monitor contacts of reported cases and prevent further spread of the virus.

He noted that security agencies do not have the full authority to restrict any movement in and outside the state, hence the deployment of advisory techniques in educating the people on the need to respect the partial restriction.

Jimeta, however, sued for civility from security agencies in the discharge of their duties not just during the partial restriction of movement in the state, but always.

He also appealed to relevant stakeholders as well as the leadership of various unions in the state to join security agencies in sensitising members of the public as well as their members on the need to listen and obey directives.

According to him, there is minimum enlightenment by stakeholders, but stressed the need for government to embark on massive public enlightenment.

He also commented on the reported activities of a Chinese Company in Idogbo, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of the state, where it was alleged that the company locked in their staff.

Jimeta explained that after thorough investigation, they discovered that the staff are residents in the Staff Quarters of the company and were advised not to leave their quarters to avoid contracting the virus.

He appealed to all stakeholders to join the government in the advocacy on the need for social distancing and practicing of proper hygiene.

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