No fewer than 50 combat-ready policemen drawn from the Police Mobile Force unit of the Nigeria Police, on Friday stormed the Edo State House of Assembly in commando style to stop on-going renovation at the Assembly.
As a result, there was apprehension around the Anthony Enahoro Complex of the Assembly at Ring Road, Benin City, as people gathered to watch policemen barking orders to construction workers on the roof top removing roofing sheets of the Assembly to come down.
The Assembly complex is currently undergoing renovation following alleged vandalism of the facility by the suspended former Deputy Speaker, Festus Ebea and eight other lawmakers.
Speaking on the invasion of the complex by anti-riot policemen, the House Committee Chairman on Information, Youth and Sports, Hon. Kabiru Adjoto, told journalists that the policemen who were led by Assistant Superintendent of Police, Florence Joseph, on arrival, allegedly tear-gassed the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Uyi Igbe and threatened to shoot him.
He added that workers hired by the Assembly to carry out the renovation were thoroughly beaten by the policemen before they were chased away from the premises, just as civil servants working at the Assembly, were said to have run for dear life in the ensuing commotion.
Hon. Adjoto accused the police of colluding with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to destabilise Edo State, saying that both the state Commissioner of Police and the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 5, denied deploying policemen to the Assembly.
“These are rifles they are supposed to take to Sambisa forest to free our girls, they are here intimidating welders and other workers carrying out renovation”, Adjoto fumed.
Speaking to journalists, Mr. Ebea, who was impeached on Wednesday, described the renovation as an attempt to stop PDP lawmakers from participating in sittings in the Assembly, just as he described the work as a waste of fund, as according to him, the Assembly building was re-roofed just last year.
However, in what looked like a contradiction of the statement by Hon. Adjoto, the State Police Commissioner, CP Foluso Adebanjo said yesterday, the Command, based on security reports, deployed policemen to the Assembly to stop the work temporarily.
Since the renovation began, members loyal to Governor Adams Oshiomhole, have relocated to the old Exco Chamber at the Government House, Benin.