By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—Edo State Government yesterday petitioned the state Commissioner of Police, Babatunde Kokumo, asking him to investigate the allegation made by the state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Dan Orbih, that the state government diverted 4,721 bags of rice allegedly meant for Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camp in the state.
The petition by Secretary to Edo State Government, Osarodion Ogie, said the PDP chairman had in a radio interview, “Falsely and maliciously stated that the Edo State Government was involved in a criminal conspiracy to divert 4,721 bags of rice released by the Federal Government for distribution to IDPs in the state.”
Also, the All Progressives Congress, APC, PDP in the state has described the allegation as diversionary.
The APC in a statement by its Secretary, Lawrence Okah, said that the Obaseki-led administration will “never divert what belongs to the IDPs and the PDP knows that. What they are trying to do is to divert the attention of Edo indigenes and the general public from the ongoing investigation of most PDP leaders in the state by the EFCC as regards the looted funds in the NNPC and the Ministry of Works which they squandered during the 2015 presidential election.
“Most of them have been visiting the EFCC in the past six months and very soon they will be sent to jail for their atrocities. So they are only trying to malign the the governor just to convey wrong impression to the public. Obaseki has spent millions of naira in rehabilitating both the IDPs and Libya returnees and I wonder how it will make sense to anybody to feel he can divert bags of rice meant for IDPs.”
Meanwhile, the state government in the petition, said: “It is instructive to note that in making these allegations to the general public, Orbih claimed that he had facts and records to back up his allegations.
“The purpose of this complaint is to formally bring these weighty and unsubstantiated allegations to your attention and to request a thorough investigation with a view to establishing the veracity or otherwise of same.
“It is the contention of the Edo State Government that Orbih should be called to provide evidence of the serious crimes he has accused the Edo State Government of and to furnish your command with facts, details and proof of the allegations he made in the public domain.”