Friday, 17 October 2014

Protest Rocks Benin Over Arrest of Edo House of Assembly Speaker, Others

BENIN CITY--POLITICAL tension heightened in Edo State
yesterday, following the arrest of the speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Uyi Igbe, the Majority
Leader of the House, Philip Shaibu, and the Chief Whip, Folly Ogedengbe, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in Abuja.
The trio, who travelled to Abuja last Monday on the invitation of the EFCC, was said to have been detained
for alleged forgery of the signature of one of PDP lawmakers, Rasaq Momoh, during the impeachment of
Deputy Speaker of the House, Festus Ebea.

Their detention elicited protest, led by the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Kabiru Adjoto, in
Benin yesterday.
Adjoto vowed that they would stage a one million man march in Abuja, if the lawmakers were not released by
yesterday, describing as unfortunate the fact that the EFCC would turn itself into a tool for the PDP to use to
witch hunt APC lawmakers in Edo State.
"If they kill our principal officers, we will fight with our blood," Adjoto warned.

He also raised an alarm over alleged plot by the EFCC and the PDP to eliminate the trio but warned that the
EFCC should be ready to kill the entire Edo people if anything went wrong with their principal officers.

Speaker faints

The situation is even more critical as the speaker who is the son of the Iyase of Benin Kingdom (Prime
Minister), is said to have fainted twice at the EFCC cell in Abuja, following the torture he allegedly received.
Adjoto said: "As I speak with you, the EFCC has arrested the speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, the
Majority Leader, Philip Shaibu, Chief whip, Folly Ogedengbe. They were arrested Wednesday and as we
speak they are being kept under very inhuman condition in Abuja.

"You are all aware that last week, there was a very vicious attack on the legislative quarters. Philip Shaibu
sustained serious bullet wounds, the Speaker was wounded and the Chief whip was wounded equally.
"The EFCC arrested them not minding their health conditions. We are reliably informed that the Speaker of
the House collapsed two times this morning. Philip is bleeding profusely and they are being denied medical
"As we speak, the reasons for their arrest is that the EFCC said they forged the signature of Rasaq Momoh
when the former deputy Speaker Festus Ebea was impeached.


"Our concern is this, when did the EFCC become an agency to investigate forgery of signature? When has forgery of signature become a financial crime?
Impeachment of either the Speaker or Deputy Speaker is purely the business of the House. EFCC has no business what so ever with it. We are surprised that the EFCC can reduce itself to investigate a crime that has already been spelt out as a criminal matter
according to the constitution.

" The EFCC is not set up to investigate forgery of signature and that they have reduced themselves shows
that they are not just acting.
"As we speak, the leadership of the PDP in Edo State is at the headquarters in Abuja. And the most worrisome is that the President of the country has given directive that these three principal officers of the Edo State House of Assembly be charged to court and be remanded indefinitely.

That is giving us serious concerns. One will expect the police to investigate that matter, what has EFCC got to do with forgery of
"Last week these same people came here to kill us. As we speak, innocent people are being picked up on the
streets of Benin, but the real people have that committed crime not been arrested. They went to PDP
secretariat and were celebrating.
"But as a people, we will not fold our hands and allow this injustice to continue. We are giving EFCC till 4pm
today to release these principal officers. If they refuse to release them, as a people we have resolved to
organize a one million man march to Abuja and Abuja will know that we have arrived."