Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) faithful across Edo South Senatorial district, on Monday, protested the assault on Senator Matthew Urhoghide at the Benin Airport by suspected All Progressives Congress (APC) thugs.
The protesters, in their large number, marched through major streets in Benin-City, brandishing placards of various inscriptions that read thus: ‘Say no to hooliganism,’ ‘say no to executive recklessness’, ‘freedom of expression must prevail’, ‘on decency we stand’, and so on.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Publicity Secretary of PDP in the state, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, said the party, through its lawyers, E.E. Agbonwanegbe and Associates has petitioned the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo, to fish out those who molested Sen Urhoghide at Benin Airport.
The petition reads as follows, “We act as Solicitors to the entire PDP Edo South Senatorial District and on whose authority we write this petition for matters related and connected to the caption above written.
“That on Friday, the 27th of April 2018, at the Benin Airport, thugs masquerading as APC youths, but really hired by the party and state apparatus, came to the Airport in their thousands to lay ambush for our Senator Matthew Urhoghide who was coming to his constituency from Abuja.
“Senator Matthew Urhoghide was really harassed, intimidated and assaulted by those hooligans who invaded the Airport.
“Senator Matthew Urhoghide was hit hard on his head by one Micheal Eriyo, aided by another called Mutari and one of two others yet unnamed but one cutting ticket along Airport Road on daily basis.
“In the melee that occurred, the PDP state youth leader was beaten to stupor and now hospitalized here in Benin, another victim was the former state woman leader, Mrs. Stella Evbuomwan, also hospitalized and two others in the hospital beaten o the point of death.
“These victims are some of the few PDP members the Senator was able to reach in the face of the danger and imprisonment caused by the thugs at the VIP lounge of the Benin Airport.
“Before this ungodly action of their, they did not just start at the Airport, they had earlier in the day demonstrated to NUJ and the Senator’s office, boasting that they were going to the Airport to wait for him.
“It was this information that reached the Senator at boarding in Abuja. The same reason he stayed at VIP lounge. They were not able to get him until the governor talked him out of the VIP to the waiting arm of the vampires.
“Again this morning, Mr. Commissioner, they had continued their demonstration to NUJ and some major streets in Benin.
“We humbly appeal that you pay attention to these ugly incidences and carry out investigation to unravel what really happened and those behind it.
“Finally sir, we refuse to believe that any individual is above the law, therefore we appeal to you to use your good office in aid of the pursuit of justice and for the protection of our client’s dear life”, the petition said.
Nehikhare said PDP as a party in the state, is not afraid of intimidation and cannot be cowed by anybody not to perform their roles as an opposition party.
He said those who want peace in the state should act accordingly and that the PDP will not tolerate a situation where its members are harassed and intimidated for carrying out their legitimate exercise which they are elected for.
“Let those that want peace in the state act in accordance with peace. We will not tolerate it, where our members are harassed, intimidated, brutalized, attacked for doing a duty for which they were elected”, he said.
In swift reaction, Special Adviser to the Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie said Senator Urhoghide was a victim of his own orchestration.
“A lion handler or snake charmer who lost control of his beasts and became a victim of his violent circus. As we said before, Urhoghide has to explain to Edo people why after several trips to and from Benin, without riotous reception, he decided to order PDP youths out of their homes to invade the airport on that occasion.
“Engaging thugs that Governor Obaseki has since retired, is not a ‘senatorial way’ of assisting our youths who need skills to set up businesses,” he stressed.
He urged Edo PDP to laud the good work Governor Obaseki is doing for the state, and assured that “the best is on the way for our people.”