From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu and Michael Egbejule, Benin City
THE Edo State government and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday engaged in a war of words over an alleged attack on Governor Adams Oshiomhole by students of the Institute Management Technology (IMT), Usen, Edo State on Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s convoy.
While the state government insisted that the students were instigated by the PDP, the party said the attack on the governor’s convoy was due to the state government’s inability to meet the students’ demand for infrastructure and his refusal to visit their campus.
But an eye witness working with a para-military organisation in the area told The Guardian yesterday that Oshiomhole told the students that he would not be able to go with them into the school premises as requested as it was already late (6.42 pm), adding that whatever they wanted to show him would not be visible.
A statement by the Commissioner for Information, Louis Odion, said the students were suspected to be thugs and agents of an opposition party.
He said they opened fire on the governor’s convoy, a development he said happened exactly two months after the governor escaped death by the whiskers on April 29 when a tipper ran into his convoy on Auchi-Warrake road, killing three journalists.
He said the convoy ran into a barricade some metres from the palace shortly after paying homage to the Onogie of Usen, His Royal Highness Oluogbe II, at about 6pm.
“Naturally, the security details attached to the governor came down to remove the barricade. As they were clearing it, tens of heavily armed thugs emerged from nowhere and opened fire on the governor for several seconds.
“Dutifully, the brave security details attached to the governor, supported by an additional contingent of regular policemen deployed to maintain law and order, rose to the occasion. They were able to shield the governor, key government functionaries and others, including top leaders of Edo Action Congress of Nigeria, to safety without sustaining any human casualty.
“But several official vehicles, including Toyota Land cruisers, Hilux pick-up vans and Toyota Corolla saloon cars, were either badly damaged or riddled with bullets.
“Apparently annoyed that they missed their target, the thugs later descended on the near-by police post and vandalized it,” Odion said.
But the PDP’s Publicity Secretary in the state, Matthew Urhoghide in a telephone reaction said the allegation was false and unfounded. According to him, the students barricaded the road in response to his failure to visit the institution as they demanded.
But when contacted, Edo State Police spokesman, Anthony Airhuoyo, said the command was yet to be briefed by the Divisional Police Officer of Usen division.
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