Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
In spite of the court action against the Inspector General of Police and the Edo State Commissioner of Police, the two chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Messrs Osakpamwan Eriyo and Sunday Osagbona, were yesterday arraigned at the Oredo Magistrate Court for attempted murder.
Eriyo is the state Youth Leader of the APC and Chairman of the Road Transport Employers Association (RTEAN), while Osagbona is the Ward three Chairman of the APC in Oredo Local Government.
Before the APC chieftains were arraigned, their supporters had defied police blockade and invaded headquarters of the Edo State Police Command to demand their release.
They chanted songs, saying they have been at the police headquarters for the past three days when their leaders were detained.
One of them told journalists that they have been besieging the police headquarters but the police refused to release their leaders.
It was during the barricade that police whisked the APC chieftains under heavy security to the Magistrate Court along Sapele Road.
Officials of RTEAN and suspected thugs stormed the court but police prevented them from gaining access which caused heavy vehicular traffic.
When Eriyo was brought to court, he was shouting down on policemen on why he should be brought to court in handcuffs when he is not a criminal.
He said: “Am I a criminal? Did I kill anybody? Why are they charging me for attempted murder?
“I didn’t do anything. It is the governor that is oppressing me.”
A two court charge of attempt to murder Chief Osaro Idah, state Secretary of the APC, were preferred against them.
Their pleas were not taken but their counsel, Usunobun Evbayiro, in what he described as a ‘Christmas application’ urged the court to grant them custody in the police clinic because of alleged ill-health.
He said his clients were hypertensive, asthmatic, have high blood sugar and need constant medical attention.
He said: “The first accused person collapsed in police station. It was the police doctors that revived him. I urge you to use your discretion to allow him to be kept in police hospital so that police doctors can attend to him. It is for him not to die in custody.”
But the presiding Magistrate, M.C Ojobo, said she lacked such powers and that prison custody is the proper place to remand them since there are health facilities at the prisons.
She said she lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter and ordered the case file be sent to the Director of Public Prosecution for legal advice.
The case was adjourned to January 13 for mentioning.
The APC chieftains were arrested following a petition sent to the police by Idah that they threatened his life.