October 10, 2014

Attack on Edo lawmaker: Police arrest Speaker, Majority Leader

Edo Assembly crisis

EDO ASSEMBLY CRISIS—Police at the Edo State House of Assembly as the crisis in the House continued, yesterday. Photo: Barnabas Uzosike.

By Simon Ebegbulem

BENIN CITY—POLITICAL tension heightened in Edo State yesterday as Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr. Uyi Igbe, and Majority Leader, Mr. Philip Shaibu, were detained by the Police over the attack on the lawmaker representing Etsako West constituency, Mr. Rasaq Momoh.

This came on a day the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, invited the duo to appear before it in Abuja next Monday.

The reasons for the invitation are unclear, but All Progressives Congress, APC, has raised an alarm over alleged plot by the Federal Government to incarcerate all loyalists of Governor Adams Oshiomhole.

Momoh, whose seat was declared vacant by the House in July, was attacked by thugs after he defied the instruction of security men in the House of Assembly quarters not to scale the perimeter fence of the state legislators’ quarters to gain access to the facility.

The PDP accused the Majority Leader and other APC lawmakers of masterminding the attack, a claim he described as frivolous.

Speaker Igbe, Shaibu and Folly Ogedegbe were invited to the state police command by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Foluso Adebanjo, at about 11am.

The lawmakers and their colleagues who thronged the police command in solidarity, were still being detained there at the time of filing this report.

Efforts made to speak with the Commissioner of Police on the issue proved abortive. However, Shaibu, who spoke with Vanguard at the police command headquarters, said: “We came in response to an invitation by the Police. They have kept us here for over three hours for a matter we know nothing about. The EFCC has also invited us to Abuja on Monday.

“You could see the intimidation. When the PDP lawmakers, including Momoh, forcefully broke into the Assembly complex, the Police did not invite them, let alone arrest them. All the court orders that were issued against them, were disobeyed and the police did nothing to enforce the court orders. But you can see that we have been detained here for hours over an issue we know nothing about. This is an attempt to intimidate and eliminate all Oshiomhole’s loyalists before the elections.”