Edo protesters want office of public defender
• Governor vows to drag Igbinedion before anti-graft agencies
CIVIL rights organisations and traders yesterday took to the streets of Benin City, Edo State demanding for the establishment of the Office of Public Defender (OPD) as promised by the state government to defend the helpless.
Similarly, some youth and rights groups as well as market women associations in their thousands also staged a rally where they lauded the activities of the state government in the last seven years and pledged their support for the controversial land use charge.
The OPD agitators, led by the Executive Director Africa Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Rev David Ugolor and other civil society organisations, including Edo Forum Against Impunity, Traders Welfare Association among others, visited the state House of Assembly, Ministry of Justice and the Nigerian Union of Journalists to press home their demands.
The demands of the group also included end to human rights violations, extrajudicial killings and sustained fight against impunity.
They also asked that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act be domesticated in the state to improve administration of justice.
Meanwhile, Governor Adams Oshiomhole while addressing the massive rally, said he would forward all documents of alleged fraud against the former administration of Lucky Igbinedion to the necessary agencies for prosecution.
He alleged that both the erstwhile governor and his father converted properties, funds meant for the people of the state for their private use, just as he expressed readiness to publish the sale of government properties during the administration in question, where he fingered the former Secretary to the state government, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as one of the beneficiaries of some of the properties.
The youths condemned the Monday protest and commended the governor for his developmental strides.
Oshiomhole said his problem with the Igbinedions started when he revoked the over 200,000 hectares of land the former governor gave to his father in Okada and terminated the MOU they both signed which the governor alleged “allows the medical students in Igbinedion University to use our state-owned hospital at the expense of the Edo State government while Chief Igbinedion collects N1 million from each medical student.”
According to Oshiomhole: “Everybody born of a woman in this state must be subjected to the rule of law. I decree in the name of God my creator and in the interest of Edo people, even the ones yet unborn, I want to be remembered, after my stewardship, not only for roads, for hospitals, for schools, much more importantly, I want to be remembered as the man who brought an end to great heights. I want to be remembered as the man who took from those who have bastardised, raped and privatised the resources of Edo State, use our money to build their private universities and walk around our streets when they are supposed to be in Oko prison.”