June 16, 2009

Police arrest 7 councillors in Edo over alleged plot to kidnap LG boss

By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—Edo state police Command yesterday arrested seven councillors in Oredo Local Government Council of Edo State, including the House leader, Mr. Foster Iyangbe, and the Majority Leader, Mr. Osaretin Osaigbovo, for alleged plans to kidnap the Chairman of the council, Mr. Mike Ehima.

Their arrest followed a petition by the council boss, addressed to the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Danlami Yar’Adua, alleging plans by the councillors to kidnap him because of the protracted crisis between the legislative arm of the council and the chairman.

It would be recalled that the councillors had dragged Mr. Ehima before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged misappropriation of council funds and inflation of contracts.

The lawmakers had also commenced impeachment moves against the council boss.
The councillors had last week refused to debate on the 2009 appropriation bill presented to it by the chairman and vowed it would not act on it until the chairman released all their withheld allowances.

Yesterday’s arrest of the councillors had further heightened the existing tension in the council.

As at 2:30pm yesterday, when Vanguard visited the state Police Command, the councillors were writing their statements and it was not clear if they would be granted bail after making their statements.

The House leader, Mr. Iyangbe, who spoke to Vanguard at the state CID, asserted that “ no body is planning to kidnap the chairman, this is just an attempt to intimidate us because of the impeachment moves against him.

All we have done in that council followed the due process and the records are there for any body to verify.

But I want to say that we will not be intimidated because we are only carrying out our over sight functions as lawmakers in the council and this petition cannot deter us, we are on the path of truth”.