From Vincent Mary-Odozi in Benin
It was a bloody day in some parts of Edo state on Wednesday as some protesting youths, alleged to be members and supporters of the People Democratic Party (PDP) invaded councils in Edo Central Senatorial District in protest against alleged disobedience of court judgment, which sacked the transition committees of the various councils, set up by the by the state government of Adams Oshiomhole.
The protesters stormed council secretariats of Esan West, Esan Central and Esan North East Local Government Councils simultaneously, brandishing placards with various inscriptions, chanting songs that captured their grievance.
They arrived the council secretariats as early as 7.00am blocking the various entrances to the various council.
The protest nearly turned violence in Uromi, Esan North East Local Government as supporters of Action Congress of Nigeria youths of that local government prevented them from entering the secretariats.
the clash of the two party supporters soon turned bloody as dangerous weapons like matchets, bottles, charms etc were freely used. The Video camera of the Independent Television (ITV) was allegedly destroyed in the process, while cameraman was also reported manhandled in the course of the clash.
It took the intervention of the police in Uromi to restore normalcy in the town.
Also in Esan West, Ekpoma police made use of teargas to disperse the protesters.
However, the windscreen of hilux van belonging to the council had already been smashed before police intervened.
The leader of the protesters, Mr. Tony Okonigene said they stormed the various councils to the force the execution of the court judgment which declared the occupation of the councils of Edo State by transition chairmen as illegal.
He said though the Action Congress of Nigeria in the state claimed to have appealed the judgment, it does not translate to Stay of Execution.
However, the transition committee chairman of the Esan West Local Government, Mrs Stella Okoro condemned the actions of the protesters, saying it was not in position of the protesters to execute court judgment.
Also reacting, the transition committee chairman of Esan North East, Mr. Anslem Adima described the protesters as bunch of hooligans wanted to take laws into their hands, but enthused that they were “prevented by those who were ready to protect it”.
As at the time of filing this report, men of Nigerian Police Force and those of the Security and Civil Defence Corp were still on ground at the councils.
Meanwhile, a contempt charge against the Attorney General State, and Speaker of the State House of Assembly as been instituted by one Tony Okonigene.
The plaintiff is praying the court to commit the defendants to prison for disobeying court judgment.
Just last week an Ekpoma high court set aside the resolution of the state house of assembly and called for an election into the local government areas. This follower the decision of one Tony Okoigene that went to court to challenge the decision of the state house of assembly to extend the tenure of the caretaker local government councils.