Tony Osauzo, Benin
One of the Edo State House of Assembly lawmakers-elect, Hon. Crossby Eribo, has been hospitalised in an undisclosed hospital in Benin City, following thugs attack on the lawmakers-elect in a hotel.
Eribo, a re-elected lawmaker to represent Egor constituency, reportedly suffered fractured bones during the attack in which some of the lawmakers-elect, including the former Speaker of the Assembly, Victor Edoror and younger brother of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Seidu Oshiomhole, were said to have been beaten to a coma.
The younger Oshiomhole was alleged to have been stripped naked, and his phones, lap top and other personal effects seized.
Trouble reportedly started shortly after the camp of the16 lawmakers-elect who were not inaugurated last Monday addressed journalists at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Benin City.
They were said to have left the venue of the press conference for the former Speaker’ room upstairs when suddenly the thugs numbering over 200 descended on the hotel in search of the lawmakers and in the process inflicted heavy damage on the hotel.
The intervention of the police reportedly brought the situation under control.
Narrating their ordeal, spokesman of the group, Washington Osifo, said since the issue of the governor not sending proclamation to the Clerk started, Edoror had been staying in the hotel, necessitating the group of 19 members-elect meeting there to review the situation.
“So, we had a press conference there at about three o’clock. And shortly after we left the press conference at the basement and the press crew left, we now went upstairs to the fourth floor to Edoror’s room. While we were there, three minutes after, we got a report from somebody who called and said look, they are coming to invade the hotel and it is because of you people. Who are they? He said they are thugs. Based on the information, we were looking for how to leave the place.
“Then we noticed that people were already chanting songs of war coming into the hotel from the gate, and they numbered over 200 – so many of them. They came in several buses. The most worrisome aspect of it was that the governor’s Chief Security Officer, followed them; he was the one who led them and some of them were brandishing guns – pump action guns; and others were carrying cut-to-size. And the CSO was with them in company of other policemen.
“They said we were holding a press conference; they broke the door of the hall down stairs, we were not there. They started breaking doors, room to room. They really destroyed that hotel today.
“Eventually, they got to the fourth floor and met some of our people there, but I was in a separate room. They started beating them, dragged them to the basement until police men now came because we sent SOS to the police commissioner who now sent his men before they now whisked us away from there. There was sporadic shooting by the thugs, intense shootings.
“When the police whisked us away from there, we were thankful to God only for the police to detain us. We were there from six o’clock till around 9pm in the night. We said we wanted to go; they said you people cannot go. They said we had a call from the Permanent Secretary, Government House that the governor said we should keep you people because you have a case to answer for unlawful assembly.
“We said unlawful assembly, over what? So the police were now asking, what were you people doing in that place? Why did you go there? We were amazed. We said hotel, when you were the one who came to rescue us? You are saying this? So, we were making noise. Later, they now told the permanent secretary, if you say the governor said so, that we should detain them, then arraign them tomorrow and remand them tomorrow also; what you have to do, just write us and tell us that this is exactly what the governor had directed.
“In the process of that, many people came, they now granted us bail on self recognition,” Osifo said.
Spokesman of the Edo State Police Command, DSP Chidi Nwanbuzor, who confirmed the thugs attack, however, denied knowledge of brutal assault on the embattled legislators-elect.
“The police received a report of some attack at that hotel like you just said, following the inauguration of the 7th Edo State House of Assembly and the police moved in there because our constitution says that police should protect lives and property of the people”.
He explained that the police were there to save the lives of people and property “and after which the police invited some persons so as to hear from them and they have since been released,” adding that investigation into what happened would continue.