By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”THE African Network on Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo state, yesterday, called on the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Danlami Yarâ€™Adua, to probe the circumstances that led to the arrest of the chairman of the Coalition of Registered Political Parties (CRPP) in the state, last Monday.
Meanwhile, CRPP has condemned what it described as the intimidation of the opposition political parties in the state by the police and accused the state government of not allowing criticism in the policies of government.
It would be recalled that the state government through the Special Assistant on Media to the Governor, Mr John Mayaki, had earlier dissociated the state government from the arrest ofÂ Dr Isibor by the police and warned that â€œthe state government must not be dragged into the antics of the PDP because they are scared that the people of the state are happy with the reforms being carried out by the state government.â€
Mayaki said, â€œ If you recall, the Governor had said it on several occasions thatÂ he will entertain criticisms because it will help him to work. He is a Labour man and he knows that criticism is part of democracy, therefore he will never cow the opposition. So all these allegations that he wants to cow the opposition in the state are baseless and attempt to rubbish the name of our Comrade Governor.â€
However, the Executive Director of ANEEJ, the Reverend David Ugolor, who spoke to Vanguard in Benin City yesterday, condemned the arrest of Dr Isibor and warned that such actions are capable of distorting the good intentions of the Governor Oshiomhole led administration in the state.
His words: â€œ the news came as a shock to me because I know that even when some of us criticize the government, we have not been subjected to such harassments. So for any body who is an opposition leader to be subjected to any harassment, I think it is unacceptable. And I think that the Comrade Governor as a product of a struggle will not allow such a thing to happen in Edo state.
â€œThere are some overzealous security people who want to unnecessarily indicate to the Governor that they are very efficient and they want to carry this dirty act. But I can attest to you that the Comrade Governor will not be involved in this. But I want to call on him to speak on the issue and again we call on the police to probe the arrest because detaining any opposition leader in a democracy is unjust and unacceptable to us,â€ he stated.
The PDP in a statement signed by the Vice-Chairman of the party (Edo North), Mr Paschal Ugbome,also condemned the arrest and called on the Police Commission to explain to the people the reason for the arrest because â€œ we cannot be cowed as opposition parties and any attempt to clamp down on the opposition in the state will be suicidalâ€.