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Groups condemn Thursday invasion of Edo Assembly Complex

…call for arrest, prosecution of persons behind it

The failed attempt, Thursday, to forcefully take over the Edo State House of Assembly Complex at Ring Road, Benin City, by security forces allegedly acting on the orders of leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has received wide condemnations from many lovers of democracy, both individuals and groups, with some calling for the arrest and prosecution of those behind the invasion.

Condemning the invasion of the Assembly complex at a press briefing in Benin City, the Edo State capital, a group under the aegis of Coalition of Community Based Organisations (CBO) said the action was a treasonable offence which is a violation of section 1(2) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended and the treason clause of the criminal code law of Edo State.

“This morning, there was a failed attempt by the 12 yet-to-be inaugurated members of the House, whose seats have been declared vacant, to be clandestinely sworn into office by the impeached deputy speaker of the House, Hon. Yekini Idiaye,” Andrew Adaze Emwanta, spokesperson of the group, said.

“This action is not only unlawful, but an act of treason, which is contrary to the provision of section 1(2) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended, and the treason clause of the criminal code law of Edo State,” Emwanta said.

He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to swiftly call the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to order on their alleged plan to make the state ungovernable, saying the alleged civil conspiracy to forcefully take over an arm of the Edo State government constitutes a threat to the rule of law, constitutionalism and democracy in Nigeria.

The group also called on the Nigeria Police and other security agencies not to allow themselves to be used by anti-democratic forces to create anarchy in Edo State.

It noted that any attempt to subvert existing democratic institutions in Edo State would be resisted by all peace- loving people of the state.

In a related development, the Forum for Progressive Governance and Accountability, an Edo-based political pressure group, also condemned the invasion in strong terms.

Secretary of the group, Ohunyon Festus Egbenososa, in a statement, said the invasion was an attempt by the party to take over government through the back door, urging the leadership of the party in the state to wait till September 19, 2020 to test the popularity of its candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, at the poll.

September 19, 2020, the day set aside by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for Edo people to choose who governs them in the next four is just six weeks, two days away from today, Thursday, August 06, 2020,” Egbenososa said.

“Instead of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to go into the streets of Edo State to market their unsalable and already disfigured candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who is being tried for N700 million fraud, the party is plotting to illegally and violently take over control of the state’s Assembly in order to impeach the incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki, against the wishes of the majority of Edo people who are direct beneficiaries of the governor’s transformational strides.

“The invasion of the Assembly Complex at Ring Road, Benin City, by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad on the orders of leaders of the APC is only an affirmation that the party and its candidate cannot win the governorship election in a fair contest and have resorted to illegal and violent means to topple the legislature and cause crisis in Edo State,” he said.

Egbenososa said such despicable act was not only condemnable but an assault on the sensitivity of Edo people.

“The APC must wait for September 19, 2020 to test the popularity of their Machiavellian candidate, who Edo people have always rejected and will continue to reject.

“The issues have become clearer; the governor is being fought by enemies of the state because he refused to share the patrimony and resources of Edo State amongst a predatory group of godfathers and political thugs. Politics should be about people, not self; Edo people will not relent in resisting the antics of selfish politicians who are hellbent on further plundering the fortunes of the state,” he said.

The group called on President Buhari, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and heads of other security agencies “to rein in Comr. Adams Oshiomhole, Ize-Iyamu and the APC in Edo State to avert this rape of democracy and heinous ploy to subvert the will of the majority of Edo people”.

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