Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Mr. Kabiru Adjoto, has condemned the attack on the House of Assembly by Civil Society groups during their protest on Thursday in Benin City.
The Civil Society groups who were protesting against a bill to provide for electricity theft and other related offences, which is currently before the Assembly, had pelted the walls of the Assembly premises with tomatoes as well as defacing them with palm oil.
But reacting to the action of the protesters at a press briefing, Adjoto alleged that they were sponsored by politicians.
“These people are sponsored and they have exceeded their limits,” he said and accused a member of the House, Mr. Chris Okaeben, of allegedly being one of the sponsors of the protest, even as he threatened that the House would bring the violent protesters to book and take all necessary measures to forestall such barbaric behaviour.
He explained that there was an existing federal act dealing with electricity theft which prescribes various imprisonment terms for offenders which the House was in the process of domesticating to suit the peculiar situation of Edo State, adding that if the Civil Society groups felt otherwise, they should have gone to court to challenge the bill.
But in a swift response to the Speaker’s allegation, of sponsoring the protest, Mr. Okaeben said it was quite unfortunate for Hon. Adjoto to have linked him with the protest carried out by Civil Society organisations with respect to what they tagged ‘anti-people bill.
He said the same civil society group had been accusing him of conniving with the BEDC to the detriment of the people of the state.
The lawmaker while wondering how the Speaker had suddenly come up to say that he sponsored the protest against the bill, explained that he was never a part of the bill and that he also questioned the speed at which the bill was passed into law by the State House of Assembly.