From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
The police in Edo State on Thursday said it arrested and arraigned 37 suspected political thugs in connection with the ongoing leadership crisis in the state House of Assembly.
Acting public relations officer of the command, Noble Uwoh, a deputy superintendent of Police, said in a statement that the suspects were arraigned in a Benin Magistrate Court on Tuesday and have been remanded in prison custody.
Uwoh said the suspects were charged with offences ranging from conspiracy, riotous act and unlawful assembly to cause the breach of the peace.
He said dangerous local weapons such as cutlasses, axe, a large quantity of broken bottles and stones used as missiles.
Two days ago, proceedings at the state House of Assembly took an ugly turn as eight members made an early appearance at the House in an attempt to suspend the substantive Speaker and 15 others.
The members who were retaliating the suspension of four of their colleagues by the larger House for decamping from the All Progressive Congress, APC, were later joined by four other Peoples Democratic Party, PDP lawmakers who merged and declared the majority suspended.
The majority, however, stormed the assembly complex and tried to eject the minority lawmakers causing pandemonium that took the intervention of riot policemen to control.
The two groups later briefed the press with each staking a claim to the leadership of the House.
Speaking on Thursday, chairman, Committee on Youth and Sports in the Assembly, Kabiru Adjoto, accused some police officers in the state command of aiding the suspended PDP lawmakers.
Adjoto called on the police authorities to urgently locate and investigate the culpable police officers as well as the circumstances leading to the alleged missing mace of the House.
“The duplicate mace was stolen from the House from where the Sergeant-at-arm kept it and we reported the matter to the police at that time. But we were surprised yesterday to see that mace in possession of the suspended PDP lawmakers. We have already informed the police and we are sure that the police will get to the root of the matter,” he added.