By Gabriel Enogholase, Benin
The political situation in Edo state has taken a new dimension as policemen said to be from Abuja arrested Governor Godwin Obaseki’s Special Adviser on Security, Mr. Andrew Momudu in Benin weekend following an alleged order from above.
A statement in Benin yesterday by the Special Adviser to Governor Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said that the Police Officers said to be from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in a Gestapo style, “swooped on Obaseki’s Special Adviser on Security, Mr. Andrew Momodu, at the weekend with the intent to whisk him to Abuja”.
He said, “When Mr. Momodu resisted the unlawful arrest by the security agents, he was taken to the Police Headquarters in Benin, where he was held for an extended period until the Edo State Deputy Governor, Mr. Philip Shaibu intervened.
“Investigations revealed that the team from Abuja have orders from above to pick up not less than 50 persons loyal to Obaseki, in an attempt to plunge the state into chaos and cause panic in the governor’s camp.
“Those penciled down for arrest, according to sources privy to the policemen’s modus operandi, including Special Adviser (SA) to the Governor on Political Matters, Edo South, Hon. Osaigbovo Iyoha.
”Others on the list are Albert Obazee, Kelly Okungbowa (popularly known as Edo Stone) and Muktar-Osagie Muntari, who heads the State’s Public Works Volunteers (PUWOV)”.
He disclosed that Momodu who was later released. complained that he was harassed and locked up in a cell after being arrested in a Gestapo style while going home from his business premises along Airport road in Benin City.
According to him: “I left my church programme and went to my business place along Airport road. After taking stock of sales, I decided to go home. As I was going home, I saw some persons, who jumped down from a Hilux van. They said they were policemen and I told them to calm down. I demanded for their identity card and they showed it to me. This was around 9 am.
“One of them came behind me and kicked me. They said they would lift me up. There were other civilians inside the Hilux. When I got inside their vehicle, they said they were taking me somewhere. I asked where one of them said Police headquarters.
“When we got there, one of them said they should tie my hand and my leg. The other one said they should handcuff me. I told them I was not going to run away from their cell. They brought out a detention order where I saw they wrote conspiracy and attempted murder”.
He said the team made some calls and were ordered to detain him, noting that his wife had to cry out before his family was able to trace his whereabouts.
“They said I recruited youths. They never showed me any petition. I asked them what was my offence. They said a petition can come in oral or written form. They said part of allegations raised against me was that I am a cultist.
” I told them I have never been a member of any secret cult. They said I am recruiting people with a view to initiating them into cultism. I told them it was not true. They said I am harassing people and attacking them in Benin and in Etsako”, he said.