Political tension heightened in Benin City, Edo state capital, Thursday, following attempt by armed policemen of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SAR) who forcefully took over the state House of Assembly.
The operatives who were believed to have been ferried from Abuja reportedly chased away policemen guarding the Assembly Complex which is currently undergoing renovation and occupied the entrance of the complex for several hours.
This was just as a factional assembly emerged Thursday afternoon after a deputy clerk in the state assembly, Mr. Tom Efezokha, administered oaths on 10 out of 14 members-elect who were yet to be inaugurated into the seventh assembly.
The newly inaugurated lawmakers in addition to their colleagues who had been inaugurated last year- numbering 17 held plenary briefly during which they elected Hon. Victor Edoror as speaker.
The factional assembly legislators are all members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and allies of ex-national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
The inauguration of the parallel assembly was done outside the Edo State House of Assembly complex on King square in Benin City, the state capital.
There are 24 Constituency seats in the Edo State House of Assembly.
Governor Godwin Obaseki who is seeking reelection on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on September 19 have been locked in a protracted political battle with his erstwhile godfather, Adams Oshiomhole over issues bordering on the inauguration of the seventh assembly on June 17, 2019.
There was tension in and around the kingsquare where the assembly complex is situated whilst the stern looking policemen held sway.
PDP youths who attempted to come close to the complex and lend solidarity to lawmakers on the party’s platform were driven away by the fierce-looking policemen.
However, the youths were embodied by the arrival of governor Obaseki at the premises as they trooped into the complex unrestricted- singing in solidarity.
Obaseki said at the House of Assembly that “As governor of the state, I will do everything within my power to protect the sovereignty of the House.
“Nigeria is governed by the constitution and Mr. President (Buhari) has always said we must follow the rules of law and do things according to law.
“Nobody is above the constitution of our country and so, go about your regular duty as a parliament; the way constitution prescribed”, the governor said .