By Francis Ogbuagu, Benin city
Edo state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has claimed that soldiers attached to the Esama of Benin, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion were being used to harass its members while on electioneering campaign and called on the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Yusuf Buratai to caution his men.
The party alleged that a bloody clash was averted by the maturity of its members when its candidate for the House of Representatives in Ovia Federal Constituency, Mr Dennis Idahosa and his supporters, when they went to campaign in Usen. They alleged that the soldiers who were with Chief Ogbinedion allegedly harassed its members..
One of the daughters of Igbinedion, Barrister Omosede Igbinedion is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) house of representatives candidate for the constituency.
A statement issued by the State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Chris Azebamwan, said the campaign train of the party was on its way to Usen in Ovia South West local government when Chief Igbinedion who was accompanied by the soldiers allegedly blocked the road.
Azebamwan said a bloody clash was averted as its candidate, Idahosa, who was leading the campaign team was able to bring sanity to the situation which he said was fraught with danger.
According to him, “The incident at Usen was a major blot on the integrity and impartiality of the Nigerian Armed Forces. “We hereby call on the Chief of Army Staff and the Commander of 4 Brigade, to bring to book, the black sheep in their rank and file who hired themselves out to Chief Igbinedion as political thugs and agents of violence, in his desperate attempt to shore up the dwindling political fortunes of his daughter who has been rejected by the people of Ovia.
“We have appealed to our teeming members and supporters in Ovia to remain calm and toe the path of peace and to ignore the provocative antics of Chief Igbinedion.
“We call on the Military authorities to do the needful by identifying the miscreants in army uniform who are hell -bent on bringing the gallant men of the Nigerian Armed Forces to opprobrium and public ridicule.”
When contacted for comments, Omosede denied the allegation saying it was unfounded. A call to Chief Igbinedion was picked by an aide who promised to return the call after relaying the message to Chief Igbinedion but as at the time of this report, he is yet to get back to this reporter.