By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
Operatives of the Edo State Police Command on Wednesday barred a group, Joint Action for the Advancement of Democracy in Edo (JAADE), from protesting the crisis rocking the Edo State House of Assembly.
JAADE is a coalition of groups across the state, including Benin Youth Council (BYC), Esan Progress and Unity Forum (EPUF), Edo North Democratic Frontiers (ENDF), and others.
The police command in a letter signed by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Tunde Sumonu, on behalf of the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), said the Commissioner of Police “disapproved any form of procession for now.”
The letter advised the group to seek redress in court if it was not okay with the decision.
Convener of JAADE, Hon. Aiyamenkhue Edokpolo, while addressing journalists over the development, frowned at the way and manner the 7th Assembly was inaugurated.
He said that it fell short of democratic principles and expectations from the state governor and the All Progressives Congress. He described the emergence of the leadership as “minority rule.”
Edokpolo said stakeholders were worried, “especially the violence that followed the midnight inauguration of nine out of 24 members-elect on the 17th of June, during which some members-elect were assaulted at a hotel in Benin the following day.
“This is clearly a case of conjuring minority rule in an Assembly that is organically positioned as the melting pot of democratic ethos, and the indefatigable symbol of democracy all over the world.
“We believe that Edo is a congregate of some of the most enlightened Nigerians; and thus view the motor park styled inauguration of the Assembly as a generational disgrace that some nine members in a show of unnecessary bravado outplayed their colleagues in an unholy hour to install minority rule in the Assembly.
“This, in our view is most uncivilised, barbaric, and a threat to democracy and peace. This is happening at a time when Nigerians are in a sober reflection of the watershed of June 12, 1993 elections, when some nationalists shed their blood to regain democracy from military rule,” he stated.
Commenting on the way forward, the group called for a proper inauguration of the House.
“We demand for the immediate and unconditional restoration to the ideal democratic order, where a proper inauguration for the 24 members-elect will be done freely and fairly,” Edokpolor said.