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Saturday, 18 October 2014

On 18:05:00 by pflamez media   No comments
SIMON EBEGBULEM, BENIN CITY
There has been tension in Edo State since armed men invaded the state House of Assembly quarters in GRA, Benin City, penultimate Saturday, destroying over 36 vehicles while some lawmakers sustained injuries.

The political crisis in the state started when a chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, led four lawmakers to defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
That gave the PDP nine members in the House while the APC maintained majority of 15. Events took a turn for the worse after Deputy Speaker Festus Ebea was impeached and four other PDP lawmakers suspended for alleged misconduct.
The PDP lawmakers lost their cases both at the High Court and the Appeal Court after they were accused of deliberate attempt to ridicule the judiciary following their alleged failure to obey the High Court order which upheld their suspension from the House.
Following the fight that led to the destruction of part of the Assembly complex at Ring-Road and the subsequent renovation work at the complex, the House moved to the old Assembly complex at Osadebey Avenue.
But the PDP members refused to move, arguing that there was nothing wrong with the complex at Ring-Road. While the APC 15 continue to have their proceedings at Osadebey Avenue, the PDP nine, with the protection of the police have been holding their separate proceedings at the Ring Road complex.
The situation was like that until the invasion of the Assembly quarters last Saturday. But prior to the invasion, one of the PDP lawmakers, Rasaq Momoh, was beaten up at the Assembly quarters after he allegedly scaled the perimeter fence when he was refused entrance by security men at the gate.
The reason was that the House had in July declared the seat of the lawmaker vacant due to his defection to the PDP. Besides, there are court injunctions restraining him and others who were suspended from entering the Assembly quarters and premises.
It was learnt that his insistence in entering the quarters led to a heated argument between him and some youths around and security men which eventually led to a fight. He was beaten to a pulp and currently receiving treatment in hospital.
The PDP in the state accused the Majority Leader of the House, Philip Shaibu, and the APC of masterminding the attack. Many people believed the APP lawmaker's sympath, could strike back.
It was amid that mindset that penultimate Saturday morning at about 6:30am, armed men stormed the Assembly quarters and unleashed mayhem on APC lawmakers. Curiously, policemen attached to the complex were said to have been withdrawn prior to the attack. And for over 40 minutes that the armed men unleashed the mayhem, there was no resistance from the police.
The Majority Leader, Shaibu, said to be the prime target, was lucky to have escaped with his family. But over 36 cars and houses at the quarters were riddled with bullets. Governor Adams Oshiomhole visited the scene and described the attack as callous.
He disclosed that they were already aware of the plot to invade the quarters but expressed sadness that the police probably aided the attack since they were allegedly informed of the plot 48 hours before it was executed.
However, Oshiomhole, under pressure from APC youths to allow them unleash mayhem on PDP leaders, declared he would not retaliate but urged the APC supporters to ensure that the PDP is kept out of power in the state.
"I want to advice all those who are preaching violence that Edo State cannot be conquered by a bunch of criminals.
We have the capacity and the capability to protect ourselves. We will not go for anybody's blood, we don't need it", the governor said.
Reacting also, the Benin monarch, Oba Erediauwa, expressed anger over what he described as the alarming rate of political thuggery and violence perpetrated by supporters of political parties in the country and urged political leaders not to plunge the nation into crisis.
The Oba told the political leaders to be mindful of the fact that "only the living can play politics and not the dead".
The Oba who, spoke through the Iyase of Benin (Traditional Prime Minister), Chief Sam Igbe, said political leaders will be held responsible if anything goes wrong with the nation's democracy. His words: "As political leaders, you are supposed to show good examples for the younger generations to emulate , rather than recruit them as thugs".
While stressing on the need for politicians to refrain from politics of bitterness, the revered monarch directed the Enigies, chiefs, Igiehon and the Edionwere in Benin Kingdom "to pray for the country's peaceful co-existence and also to move to their various dukedoms to sensitize political aspirants, political parties and their supporters in their areas of the need to live in peace and harmony".
Tempers rose further in the state on Wednesday when the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Uyi Igbe, Majority Leader, Shaibu and Chief Whip, Folly Ogedengbe, were invited and detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja for alleged forgery.
They were accused of forging the signature of Rasaq Momoh to impeach former Deputy Speaker Ebea.. APC lawmakers and supporters led by the Chairman House Committee on Information, Kabiru Adjoto, protested the EFCC action/.
Addressing journalists Adjoto, who hinted on the resolve of the APC lawmakers to protect themselves with vigilante groups due to alleged conspiracy between the police and the PDP in the state, asserted that "the EFCC arrested the Speaker, Majority Leader and Chief Whip, not minding their health conditions.
He went on: "We are reliably informed that the Speaker of the House collapsed two times this morning. Philip is bleeding profusely and they are being denied medical attention.

As we speak, the reasons for their arrest is that the EFCC said they forged the signature of Rasaq Momoh when former Deputy Speaker Festus Ebea was impeached. Our concern is this, when did the EFCC become an agency to investigate forgery of signature. When has forgery of signature? become a financial crime? Impeachment of either the Speaker or Deputy Speaker is purely the business of the House. EFCC has no business what so ever with it.

We are surprised that the EFCC can reduce itself to investigate a crime that has already been spelt out as a criminal matter according to the Constitution. "The EFCC is not set up to investigate forgery of signature and that they have reduced themselves shows that they are not just acting. As we speak the leadership of the PDP in Edo State is at the headquarters in Abuja. And the most worrisome is that the President of the country has given directive that these three principal officers of the Edo State House of Assembly be charged to court and be remanded indefinitely.
That is giving us serious concerns. One will expect the police to investigate that matter what has EFCC got to do with forgery of signature. Last week, these same people came here to kill us. As we speak, innocent people are being picked up on the streets of Benin, the real people have not been arrested. But as a people, we will not fold our hands and allow this injustice continue. We are giving EFCC an ultimatum to release these principal officers. If they refuse to release them as a people we have resolved to organize a one-million man march to Abuja and Abuja will know that we have arrived".

However the Edo PDP leadership, fearing its members may be attacked, raised an alarm that the lives of some of their leaders were in danger. Chief Frank Erewele, who spoke on their behalf, said, ""

I want to seize this opportunity to call on law enforcement agencies that they should watch Oshiomhole in this state. If anything happens to Dan Orbih, Lucky Imasuen, Dr. Mayor. Osarobo Idehen and other leaders of the party, including myself, we know who to hold responsible because he struck first and he is the first to start complaining" .

But the State Commissioner for Information, Louis Odion, described the PDP leadership's claims as rubbish and urged the people of the state to critically look at the antecedents of Rasaq Momoh whom the PDP accused the APC of beating up.


Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

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