Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin and Fred Itua, Abuja
Commercial activities were paralysed in Benin yesterday, as civil society groups, market women, artisans and youths took to major streets of the city to support Governor Godwin Obasseki and protest the proposed taking over of the Edo State Assembly by the House of Representatives.
The support march created gridlock on adjoining roads to Ring Road and environs.
The protesters later converged on the premises of the state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, where their leaders addressed journalists on the essence of the protest.
Rev. Olu Martins said the order given by the House of Representatives to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Directorate of Security Service (DSS) to seal the state Assembly was uncalled for as the matter was already in court, insisting that they should wait for the verdict of the court.
“Yesterday, some funny looking men from the National Assembly told the IGP to take over the Edo Assembly. We are here to say Edo State is working.
“The guys who came from Abuja… there is a similar thing going on in Bauchi State but they did not go there. We want to tell them that Edo State is not Lagos State,” he said.
Martins said the people of the state were behind Governor Obaseki and that nothing could alter that as he is currently turning the state around and should be allowed to continue his good works.
“We all stand with Obaseki and the voice of the people is the voice of God. We are saying you cannot stay in Abuja, collect money and come here to make pronouncement
“Today is to demonstrate, to tell Obaseki to forge on, to inform him we stand with him and to tell Obaseki no retreat, no surrender,” he said.
Roy Oribhabor said those who have enjoyed eight years should give room for others to enjoy theirs without unnecessary interference.
APC Youth Leader, Valentine Aisien, admonished the governor not to allow himself to be distracted, stressing that those behind him were more than those against him.
Meanwhile, the Senate Ad hoc Committee investigating the crisis, yesterday, said it would be fair to every party when the report of the panel is made public.
Chairman of the committee, Aliyu Abdullahi, during a meeting with a faction of the Assembly loyal to Adams Oshiomhole and yet to take oath of office, said the mandate of the panel is to establish what led to the crisis and guide the chamber on the next course of action.
The committee was constituted last week by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, following a point of order raised by Opeyemi Bamidele about the crisis rocking the Edo Assembly.
Abdullahi also dispelled claims that the committee would be biased.
He said they will not take sides, but come up with a political solution that will resolve the crisis as soon as possible.
“We have been given a simple assignment to find out what transpired in the days leading to the inauguration of the Assembly. We want to know about the issue of proclamation and how the inauguration was conducted,” he said.