Anxiety as NURTW members lay siege to Ondo Assembly
• We intend holding prayer session with union leadership, says Speaker
• Firm seeks probe of toxic deaths in the state
• Indigenous professionals plan debate for guber candidates
• Pledge neutrality, transparency
There was a mild drama at the Ondo State House of Assembly, yesterday when thugs and hoodlums laid siege on the Assembly Complex and surroundings.
The thugs, who were suspected to be members of the state Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), stormed the area as early as 9:00 a.m., positioning themselves in batches.
Sources within the Assembly said that the nine pro-Ajayi lawmakers had since been denied access to the Assembly and also denied the official cars given to the other 17 colleagues on Friday.
The Speaker, Bamidele Oleyelogun, who identified the crowd as members of the state chapter of the NURTW, said that the leadership of the House invited the crowd for a prayer session for the peaceful conduct of the election on October 10, 2020.
He said that the state chairman of the union, Mr. Jacob Adebo, alongside other NURTW leaders, joined the House leadership and some top government functionaries in the prayer meeting.
One of the suspended lawmakers, Wale Williams, representing Ondo West Constituency II, confirmed that the thugs were mobilised to the area by the House leadership.
Williams said that the thugs, who were NURTW members wearing Aketi vests and caps, had been mobilised to prevent their entry into the Assembly Complex despite a court judgment nullifying their suspension.
He added that they were also refused to benefit from the official cars distributed to their colleagues by Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on Friday, the eve of his second term campaign kick-off.
In another development, the management of Ondo/Linyi Industrial Hub has urged security agencies and other relevant stakeholders to investigate the death of three persons allegedly killed by toxic waste at Omotosho Forest Reserve in Ondo State.
Chairman of the industrial hub, Chief Alex Ajipe, who stated this while addressing a press conference in Akure, yesterday, said that the company was not liable until investigation shows otherwise.
Ajipe described the death as a deliberate attempt to blackmail the reputation of the company, and perhaps, the Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led administration in the bid to industrialise the state.
MEANWHILE, a conglomerate of professionals in the state has unveiled a debate platform for all the 17 governorship candidates ahead of the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
The spokesperson of the group, Dr. Gbenga Abimbola, who disclosed this at a press conference in Akure, yesterday, said that it would promote political tolerance, constructive dialogue and selfless service to the people.
Abimbola, who identified the residents of the state as the target audience, described the organisers as non-partisan and independent Ondo State-based stakeholders in the civil society and the media.
He added that the initiative was leveraged on the indigenous drive, partnership and synergy with the media, providing contestants to properly adhere to the COVID-19 protocols as stipulated by INEC.
“The event, by intent and arrangement, is scheduled to be broadcast live on radio and television stations based in the state as well as on digital platforms.
“September 29 and October 4, 2020, have been picked by the organisers and both sessions shall be held at the International Events Centre (The Dome), Akure.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission and domestic/international observers are being invited to monitor the debates while security agencies shall be on the ground to maintain law and order,” he said.