From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
As the confusion in the Edo State House of Assembly continues, armed policemen on Friday stormed the premises to stop on-going renovation exercise of the complex on grounds of security.
The state commissioner of Police, Foluso Adebanjo, said that based on a security report, the command deployed policemen to the Assembly to temporarily stop the renovation work.
His words, “The temporary stoppage of renovation work is based on security report that supporters of PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) are mobilising to attack the workers and stop the work. APC supporters were also mobilising to counter. I felt the best way was to stop work temporarily to allow peace reign.”
However, the manner in which the deployed policemen besieged the complex and ordered the stoppage of work, even allegedly using tear gas on the Speaker of the House, Uyi Igbe, and threatening to shoot him, did not go down well with some of the lawmakers.
The House committee chairman on Information, Youth and Sports, Kabiru Adjoto, alleged that the policemen who were led on the operation by ASP Florence Joseph, ordered the workers at the site to lie on the floor and thoroughly beat them up before driving them away.
Civil servants working at the Assembly were said to have scampered for safety during the ensuing commotion, as passerby gathered to watch the unruly display of authority.
Adjoto accused the police of collaborating with PDP to destabilize the state, saying that both the state commissioner of Police and the assistant inspector-general of Police, Zone 5, who were called on phone during the seige, denied knowledge of the presence of the policemen at the Assembly.
He warned that there could be a break down of law and order if the police allowed the PDP faction of the House sit at the complex next Monday
Reacting to the warning, Adebanjo said the police would not allow bloodshed or loss of life in the state.