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Edo council official, Obaseki’s aide clash over revenue, others

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Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State


An aide to Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki on Political Matters, Mrs. Maris Igbons, has been reportedly hospitalised after sustaining injuries during a clash with officials of the Esan West Local Council.

Igbons was one of the Special Assistants appointed by Obaseki in each of the 192 wards in the state.The Guardian learnt that trouble started when the Head of Environment in the council, Anthony Ojeabulu, led his team to enforce an order earlier served on Igbons to remove part of her shop that extended to the road.

Anthony told newsmen that she attempted to intimidate the team by asking if they knew that she was an aide to the governor, after which Igbons allegedly slapped him (Anthony) and tore his uniforms.He said he and others drove away to report the matter to the police only for Mrs. Igbons to run to the hospital that the council officials had beaten her up.

“She was very erratic and abusive. We avoided her but she followed us to my car and slapped me. She also tore my uniform.”But Igbons, who insisted that the attack on her was sponsored, accused Chairman of the council, Patrick Aguinede, of sponsoring thugs to beat her up at her shop.She made the allegation on her hospital bed in Benin City while speaking with journalists.

Narrating her ordeal, she said she was in her shop when four men came, saying they were instructed by the council chairman to carry out the order given to traders to remove attachments to their shops.She said they had earlier asked her to remove part of the extension of the shop from the walkway, which she had already done.Igbons added that while she was about to remove her show glass from the walkway, the men dragged it from her and smashed it on the ground before beating her up to stupor.

She said she later woke up in the hospital and when she inquired what she was doing there, she was told that her sister rushed her to the hospital unconscious.Reacting to the allegation, Aguinede described the claims of assault as a fallacy and a big lie.Aguinede said the incident was part of political machination by a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the locality, Pius Omofuma, to discredit his administration.He said the battle against him was because he stopped some APC leaders from allegedly defrauding the council, adding that Igbons refused to pay revenue to the council when demand notice was served on her.

“I want to tell you that Omofuma is manipulating the whole thing. The lady ran to the hospital to evade arrest. Omofuma wants to smear my name because I denied them opportunity to defraud the council,” he added.

But in a swift reaction, Omofuma, who denied the allegations, said due to his commitment and loyalty to the APC, he had spent his personal resources to build the party in Esan East, lamenting, however, that Aguinede had been frustrating his effort to ensure victory for the APC in the area.

A former Vice Chairman of the local council, Esther Eghaghe, said she rushed Igbons to the hospital after the clash, alleging that Aguinede has been harassing traders and commercial vehicle owners in a bid to shore up the council’s revenue.She added that Aguinede’s action had been causing friction among APC members instead of uniting them.


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