Hoodlums Block Oshiomhole’s House With Waste Disposal Trucks

Tension has continued to build up in Benin, the Edo State capital, and adjoining towns as a result of the feud between Governor Godwin Obaseki and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

The raging crisis took another turn at the weekend following the surprise blockage of popular Okorotu road, along Government Reservation Area (GRA), Benin, leading to Oshiomhole’s palatial residence by unknown persons.

The road was blocked on Saturday night at both ends with heavy duty waste disposal trucks.

One of the trucks was later set ablaze, raising serious security concerns about what to come in the state ahead of the APC gubernatorial primaries in few months.

New Telegraph learnt that the barricade of Okorotu road was to prevent any political meetings from holding at Oshiomhole’s house.

A source told New Telegraph that spirited efforts made by Oshiomhole, who is a former governor of the state, saved the situation from going out of hand.

It was learnt that when the APC national chairman got report that there were plans to throw dynamite into his residence on Saturday night, after the road blockage, he sought the intervention of the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.

The IGP, it was learnt, directed the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Lawal Jimeta, to beef up security around Oshiomhole and his residence.

“This probably foiled the attack to burn the APC national chairman’s house,” a source said.

Soldiers, riot policemen, operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) and officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) had, earlier on Saturday, shielded Oshiomhole to his convoy to avert possible attack by hundreds of youths suspected to be loyal to the ruling party upon his arrival at the Benin airport to attend a burial ceremony in the state.

When contacted, the state Commissioner of Police, Jimeta, said security has been beefed up around the residence of Oshiomhole in the capital city.

The police command was, however, silent on the arrest of suspects linked to the midnight arson close to Oshiomhole’s house.

The latest incident was the second of targeted attacks close to Oshiomhole’s GRA residence in Benin City.

While in Benin City at the weekend, Oshiomhole attended the funeral of late Cecilia Agbonyinma, mother of Hon. Ehiozuwa Agbonyinma, and was booed at the Benin Airport by some APC youths.

The APC national chairman’s convoy was pelted with empty water cans amid heavy security presence at the airport.

But the Edo State Government has put the blame on Oshiomhole.

The government stated that the APC chairman has sustained assault on public peace and safety in Edo State by violating protocol when he visits the state.

This, it said, has caused crisis and violence.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, in a statement yesterday, said the state government would not be held responsible for the consequences of the former governor’s action.

According to him, “It is unfortunate that a former governor, who should understand basic security and protocol standards, will willfully and repeatedly violate them and cause tension and severe threat to public safety and security.

“Apparently, Comrade Oshiomhole has continuously defied all efforts by security agencies across the country, including the Inspector-General of Police, and the Department of State Services (DSS), among others, to ensure peace, therefore posing a severe threat not only to Edo State, but the country at large.

“We, however, want to warn that since Oshiomhole has decided to carry on with his character of impunity, disrespect for processes and continuous stirring of crisis and disruption of peace in the state, the Edo State Government would not be responsible when he reaps the consequences of his unruly behaviour.

“We are again calling on the Presidency and all security authorities in the country to prevail on Comrade Oshiomhole to discontinue these acts of impunity, in the interest of ordinary law-abiding Edo people.”

Oshiomhole’s spokesman, Mr. Simon Ebegbulem, did not pick calls made to his mobile phone by our reporter yesterday.

But reacting yesterday, a former member of House of Representatives, Samson Osagie, described the incident as barbaric and failure on the part of Governor Obaseki whom, he said, wanted to create tension and state of insecurity in the state.

Osagie, who represented Uhumwonde/Orhiomwon Federal Constituency, insisted that “Oshiomhole has not committed any offence and there is no reason for blocking the road as it’s uncalled for, unwarranted and barbaric.'”

He said: “Without being told, you know it is a barbaric act being perpetrated by a government. How can you do that? Oshiomhole is not the only person living on that road; in any case he has not committed any offence.

“Is barricading the road where he stays the solution? There is no reason for that at all. It is unwanted, uncalled for and a barbaric act. A governor of a state is trying to create tension to give a coloration of insecurity in a state he governs.

“Imagine what he has done now, on that road there are over 50 houses on the left, right and centre. He ordered that vehicles should not enter the two entrances and, at night, he sent his boys to go and burn the vehicle to give an impression that Edo is not at rest. Oshiomhole is not interested in all that he is doing. Comrade Adams Oshiomhole does not have his time.”

Meanwhile, former President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday hailed the giant strides of Governor Obaseki since assumption of office.

He said with Obaseki’s loud achievements in various sectors of economy of the state, the people are pleased with him.

Jonathan had, yesterday, paid a surprise visit to the governor at the Government House, Benin.

The former president also visited a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Esama of Benin, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, to thank him for the honour done him after the management of Igbinedion University, Okada, bestowed on him an honorary doctorate degree in November 2019.

Jonathan, who spoke with newsmen shortly after the visit, said: “Traditionally, for somebody who had been a President, when he goes to a state, he has to pay a courtesy call to the governor of the state. If you are not free, fine, but at least I informed him.”

But Obaseki seized the opportunity to again criticise Oshiomhole, saying his breach of protocol with impunity led to weekend’s attack on him by some youths.

The governor, while speaking with journalists, wondered why the APC National Chairman, who once served the state as governor and knew the protocol, refused to follow protocols.

Obaseki said: “He (Jonathan) is just extending the courtesy, as the president, someone who has served the country in the highest level and you heard what he said. There is a courtesy when you are going to visit a state, you want to inform the person in charge of the state that you are coming and when you have time during a visit, you can now pay him a courtesy call.

“Unlike the unfortunate incident, we have been having in Edo State. It is really sad where somebody who had been the governor of a state visiting the state and does not realise that courtesy demands that he should inform the governor who is the chief executive in charge of his security when he is in the state.

“It is really sad and unfortunate that people who have served, who should know better decided to behave the way they do or behave with impunity and other sense of lawlessness.”

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