By EMMA AMAIZE
Delta State Commissioner for Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Anthonia Ashiedu, yesterday, denied witnessing the clash between soldiers and policemen on the sidelines of the recent empowerment programme organised by her ministry in Warri.
However, the policeman, who was beaten to pulp by soldiers for allegedly blaring siren arbitrarily admitted, yesterday, that he did not know that the place he parked was close to a military base.
He spoke on phone with this reporter, who identified himself as a sympathiser from Warri North Local Government Area, saying that he apologised to the soldiers, who came to him when they insisted he was within military vicinity.
Ashiedu, who spoke to Vanguard on phone, also rebuffed insinuations that the empowerment programme organised by her ministry gave out cash to the beneficiaries.
She said that she did not witness any clash between soldiers and policemen, who were on escort duty with her to Koko, Warri in the state.
“It is not my practice to do such a thing if you were there, you would have heard me say it openly to the beneficiaries that we do not carry cash, we only issue certificates.
“I did not go with money to empower anybody, I do not even accept the traditional entertainment of accepting kola nuts; anybody who moves with me knows that.”
Dr. Ashiedu, said she felt distressed by the report that she watched the clash powerlessly, as she was nowhere, near where it happened.
An official, who was in the entourage of the commissioner told Vanguard: “There was no need for the police to have been blaring siren at that time.
“From Asaba to Koko, they did not blare siren because the commissioner does not even want it, so why did they choose to draw unnecessary attention by blaring it when the programme was already on.”
Meanwhile, a leader in Warri North Local Government Area, Sir E.K Gbragada, also narrated to Vanguard: “Whatever happened occurred outside the Warri North coincil premises, where the empowerment programme went on peacefully.
“Certificates were issued to the beneficiaries, everything was completed and the commissioner left for Asaba.”