PDP, ACN supporters clash in Benin City over Edo local govt polls
Three people were injured yesterday in various protests held in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
There was a protest on the outcome of last Saturday's local government elections and another on the non-inclusion of ex-militants in the Federal Government amnesty programme.
The protesters were supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), supporters of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and some aggrieved 'ex-militants', who claimed to have been excluded from the third phase amnesty programme.
PDP supporters began their protest at 7am, blocking major routes and made a bonfire at the King's Square.
They sang anti-ACN songs and vowed not to leave until the elections were cancelled.
Some few minutes later, ACN supporters stormed the Square, praising Governor Adams Oshiomhole for conducting free and fair polls.
The protests paralysed commercial activities around the Square and halted vehicular traffic as the two groups engaged one another in a free-for-all.
Men of Operation Thunderstorm, the special security outfit, brought the situation under control.
The group's spokesperson, Abiodun Peter Eda, aka Kabiru, said they were certified and documented under the third phase of the Amnesty Programme but were yet to be absorbed.
Abiodun said they would shut the operations of Dublin Oil at Gelegele, if they were not absorbed.
'We don't want to go back to crime. That is why today, we said we should come out and state our position. Today, they have attended to people from Delta, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa states with the exemption of Edo State.'
But the Head of Media and Communications, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Daniel Alabrah, said the protesters were impostors.
'We just finished our arms verification exercise. Where did they surrender theirs? I think they are making claims they cannot justify.
'Some people who don't have jobs submitted catapults and axes. They are now claiming to be ex-militants.
'Where were they in October 2009 when the amnesty programme started?
'Our verification committee has gone round and finished with the genuine militants who submitted and have been identified.'
National Secretary of the Accord Party Samson Isibor has described the elections as 'free, fair and credible.'
Isibor, who doubles as the State Chairman of Coalition of Registered Political Parties (CRPP), described the late arrival of election materials as a human error.
He said members of his party witnessed the distribution of electoral materials in remote villages such as Idibo, Udeni, Ewoghan in Uhunmwode local government.
Isibor said the party's candidate won the councillor's seat in the locality and urged aggrieved parties to seek redress at the tribunal instead of causing political tension.
Also, the Chairman of Edo is in Safe Hands, Washington Osa-Osifo, said the governor could not be blamed for EDSIEC's inefficiency.
A PDP chieftain, Aisulimen Ighodaro, has blamed the party leadership for the woeful performance in the elections.
He said there were no strategies by the party leadership to win elections.
The PDP chieftain said the resort to use youths to cause mayhem was a ploy to make the state ungovernable.
Ighodaro, who spoke at a briefing yesterday, said the PDP has failed to win elections since the chairman, Dan Orbih, assumed office.
The PDP chieftain said rather than blame the government for their failure, the party leaders should look inward and investigate why their members were leaving for the ACN.
His words: 'It saddens my mind that we are now crying foul after losing woefully, even when we know that we were not prepared for the election.
'I advise our youths to shun Orbih and his desperate tactics. They should avoid being used as cannon fodder to settle political scores.'