The purported rally allegedly being planned by persons claiming to represent the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has been suspended till further notice by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, who cited ‘overriding internal security interests.’
The rally was slated to hold at Garrick Memorial College, Ekenwan Road on Friday, December 13, but youths on Thursday besieged major streets in Benin metropolis protesting against the event, which they said put the state’s security framework in jeopardy over concerns linked to cult-related clashes.
In a letter addressed to the Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, signed by the Principal Staff Officer to the IGP, ACP Idowu Owohunwa, the Police said “in cognizance of the security consequences of the proposed Mega Rally, I am to confirm that the Inspector General of Police has directed the Commissioner of Police, Edo State Command to emplace appropriate security framework that is directed at suspending the rally until further notice.
“He has also been directed to summon a meeting of all parties involved in the political development with a view to engaging them towards giving effect to his directives in overriding internal security interests.”
Earlier in the day, hundreds of youths believed to be members of the Edo State Chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) stormed the busy Airport Road in protest of the party’s lingering crisis, factionalisation and imposition of leadership on the people.
The angry youths blocked the two sides of Airport Road, setting burn-fire, thereby causing serious traffic logjam and panic in the state capital, while motorists sought alternative routes out of the area.
The protesting youths also set burn-fire around Golf Course, Akenzua junction and along Akenzua Road in Benin metropolis, thereby disrupting human and vehicular movement.
The youths, however, opened one side of the road to traffic when the representative of the Commissioner of Police, Danladi Isa, persuaded those who barricaded the main gate of Benin Airport to allow for free flow of traffic.
He had pleaded, “I am here because of you people. I heard there is a protest here. That is why the Commissioner of Police sent me to find out what the problem is. I am the Area Commander in-Charge of this area. Blocking of the high way is a criminal offence, we appeal to you to open the highway for people to pass. We have instructed the police not to arrest anyone.”
One of the protesters, Lucky Ehimen, who spoke with journalists, charged the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to stop meddling in the state’s politics and concentrate on national issues.
“Oshiomhole should leave us alone in the state and allow us to live in peace as Governor Godwin Obaseki has performed excellently well and the youths in the State are happy with his performance and want him to continue in office. We will not allow any imposition of the leadership of the party in the state,” he said.