2 Edo APC chieftains remanded in prison for attempted murder

Anselm Ojezua: Edo APC Chairman

Jethro Ibileke/Benin
An Oredo Magistrate Court sitting in Benin, has remanded two chieftains of the All Progressive Congress (APC), in Edo State, Messers Osakpamwan Eriyo and Sunday Osagbona, in prison custody, for attempted murder.
Eriyo is the State Youth Leader of the APC and Chairman of the Road Transport Employers Association (RTEAN) while Sunday is the Ward 3 Chairman of the APC in Oredo Local Government Area.
They were arrested by the police and arraigned in court, following a petition written against them by the State Secretary of the party, Chief Osaro Idah, who alleged that they threatened his life.
Supporters of the accused persons had earlier defied police blockade when they stormed the headquarters of the Edo State Police Command in Benin, demanding their release.
They chanted war songs saying they have been at the police headquarters for the past three days when their leaders were detained.
One of the protesters told journalists that they had besieged the police headquarters but the police refused to release their leaders.
The detained APC chieftains were later whisked to the Magistrate Court along Sapele Road under heavy security.
When he arrived at the court premises, Eriyo who shouted down at policemen, queried why he should be brought to court in handcuffs when he was 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-count charge of attempt to murder Chief Osaro Idah 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 he police clinic because of alleged ill-health.
He said his clients were hypertensive, asthmatic, have high blood sugar and need constant medical attention.
“The first accused person collapsed in police station. It was the police doctors that revived him. I urge you to use your discretion to him to be kept in police hospital so that police doctors can attend to him. It is for him not to die in custody,” Evbariyo said.
But the presiding Chief Magistrate, M.C. Ojobo, who denied the request, 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 Department of Public Prosecution for legal advice.
The arraignment resulted in heavy traffic hold up, as cores of RTEAN members and suspected thugs also stormed the court premises. They were however prevented from gaining access to the court by the police.
The case was adjourned to January 13 for mentioning.
Meanwhile, Mesess Osakpamwan Eriyo and Sunday Osaguona, have dragged the Inspector General of Police, the State Commissioner of Police and Chief Osaro Idah, to court for the abridgment of his fundamental right to personal liberty.
In the suit before an Edo High Court by their counsel, Tom Oaikhinan, the applicants are also demanding for a compensation of N1billion for exemplary and aggravated damages and a public apology from the respondents for illegal and unconstitutional violation of their rights.