Tony Osauzo, Benin
Consequences from the recent alleged siege of the Benin residence of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, seem to be unfolding, as the Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Security, Mr Andrew Momodu, was arrested Sunday night by policemen from Abuja over the incident.
Following the arrest, Edo Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu spent over four hours at the Edo State Police headquarters waiting to secure the release of Mr Momodu, who was slated to be transferred to Abuja today.
Mr Momodu was reportedly arrested at around 9 pm Sunday night, following allegations that he was among those that stoned the APC chairman’s residence.
Other suspects on the list to be picked up for questioning are Special Adviser to Obaseki on Political Matters (Edo South) Hon. Osaigbovo Iyoha, head of Obaseki’s Public Works Volunteer (PUWOV), Mr Murtari Osagie, Mr Albert Obazee, Mr Kelly Okungbowa and Mr Augustine Edosomwan.
The Deputy Governor reportedly vowed to sleep outside the police headquarters if Momodu was not released to him.
But after waiting for over four hours, the Abuja police team released Mr Momodu to Shaibu the on ground that the Deputy Governor would make them available for questioning in Abuja on Wednesday.
Narrating his ordeal, Mr Momodu, who spoke to reporters after he was released, said that he was harassed and locked inside a cell, disclosing that he was arrested while heading home from his business premises along Airport Road in Benin City.
”I left my church programme and went to my business place along Airport Road,” he narrated. “After taking stock of sales, I decided to go home. As I was going home, I saw some persons jump 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. They made some calls and they were ordered that I should be detained. I was kept inside the cell. My wife had to cry out before my people were able to trace me. They said I have 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.
“They never showed me any petition, they said what they asked me is part of the allegations raised against me. They said I possessed firearms.
“This morning, I got a call from one Kabuebue. He said I should find something for them that they are hungry. This evening, I received a call from him and he asked me where I was, I told him I was in my petrol station. It was not up to five minutes [later] that police arrived. I am sure he was among the boys in the Hilux,” Mr Momodu told reporters.
In his comment, the Deputy Governor Shaibu said Nigeria has a responsible Inspector General of Police that is ready to change the face of the Nigeria Police Force.
“We discovered that some persons were up to something. We will investigate and get to the bottom of this. We were elected on the basis of protectihg lives and property, which is enshrined in the Constituion. Not even an appointee can be arrested without our knowledge. We will follow up to know what the issues are,” Mr Shaibu said.
“The Governor promised there must be law and order. We are on the same page with the police when it comes to protecting lives and ensuring law and order. It is our duty to be free. No one man can dictate our destiny. We are moving the destiny of Edo to the next level. Six of them have been invited. The names I am seeing there are not criminals. There is nothing to worry about”, he said.