Vanguard (Lagos)

13 August 2010

Nigeria: Tension in Edo Over Killing of House of Reps Aspirant

Benin City — On Wednesday August 4, 2010, Mr Oghogho Omorogbe, a 36- year-old graduate of Civil Engineering, University of Benin (UNIBEN), met with journalists in Benin City, to inform them of his plans to run for the House of Representatives seat for Orhionmwon/Uhunmwode Federal Constituency of Edo State on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN).

He told journalists that he would formally declare his intension in his ward in Uhunmwode Local Government Council on Saturday, August 7, 2010.Commenting on why he decided to offer himself for the job, Oghogho bemoaned the attitude of our politicians who, according to him, after being voted into offices, abandon the electorates.

He disclosed that "my coming into the race was divine intervention. It was the calling of God, I know I do not have money to even run for councilorship but I believe God want to use me to make a change in our society. The man there today you cannot say he has done any thing for our people. Even the road leading to his village is not tarred and there was no maternity until Governor Adams Oshiomhole came and built one there."

On Saturday, August 7, 2010, Oghogho went to his ward and formally declared his intension to unseat the incumbent lawmaker representing the area in the House of Representatives, Mr Samson Osagie, in the next election. He appealed to the youths and elders of the area for their support. But unknown to him, that was going to be his last outing.

He was assassinated at his Ugbor, Government Reservation Area (GRA) residence few hours after his declaration. His death shocked indigenes of the state, particularly friends and journalists who saw him few hours before his death. It was learnt that the suspected assassins who laid siege on the deceased at the gate of his rented apartment, waited patiently for him to come down from his vehicle to open the gate.

After he opened the gate, the assassins, five in number, pursued him as he ran for his dear life thinking they were armed robbers, and shot him in the presence of his mother in_law, Mrs Stella Amadasun. Mrs Amadasun even begged endlessly that they should spare his life and take hers own instead.

They refused and pumped bullets into his body and disappeared. Nothing was taken from him. It was purely an assassination. It was said that the deceased struggled with life but the strike action embarked upon by health workers in the state, which paralyzed activities in all government hospitals, compounded the matter.

He was still alive when he was rushed to the Central Hospital, Benin that Saturday night, but they were told to go else where as all doctors and nurses were on strike.

They moved to a private hospital but when they got there (name withheld), they were told that no doctor was on seat. At this point, Oghogho had lost a lot of blood and before they could even get to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), he gave up the ghost.

When newsmen visited the family house of the deceased wife, Osato Oghogho. She held their one month old son, weeping endlessly with scores of sympathizers around her. She was speechless. However, the mother, Mrs Amadasun, who witnessed when the assassins rained bullets on the deceased, narrated the incident.

According to her, "He just came back from the campaign on Saturday; he came back home around 8pm for the first time and then left again instructing his wife to prepare food for him. He came with a boy and then they prayed together before he left again and told his wife that he would be back, this was around 9 pm.

Later that night, we heard the sound of a car and my daughter told me that her husband was back. Shortly after he opened the gate and was going back into his car to drive inside the compound, we heard him shout, Jesus! thief, thief then he ran into the other corner of the compound but he fell down when there was no escape route.

Then I ran to them and was begging that they should spare him at least because of their one month- old first child. Then I heard gunshots and they ran through the other side. I quickly ran to him and started shouting for help; he called for his parents before he passed out, then police was called.

He was first taken to Central Hospital but the workers were on strike so there was nobody to attend to us. We went to a private hospital. They said there was no doctor before the police now said they were taking him to UBTH where he was later pronounced dead. They were about five of them but we did not see their faces because it was dark".

In a swift reaction, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Kachi Udeoji, ordered the homicide section of the state Command to take over the investigation from the Ugbor police station where the matter was earlier reported.

The state police spokesman, ASP Peter Ogboi, who disclosed this to Crime Guard, stated that "as I talk to you now, the commissioner of police has already directed that the case be taken over by the headquarters and the homicide department is already working and very soon, we will unravel the culprits.

What we have done so far is to confirm the death". Ogboi further said, "we are actually expecting the father, Mr Roland Omorogbe who is in Lagos to come and give us some information which we needed. We heard him when he spoke on Channels TV that the son told him about some body whom he said he later confronted on telephone.

So, we need him to come up with the person so that we can invite the person and interrogate him".On whether the killing was politically motivated, Ogboi said; "We cannot say that yet until the special squad set up to investigate the incident by the commissioner submits its report".

The father of the deceased, Mr Roland Omorogbe, who is a Pastor based in Lagos, had disclosed on Channels TV that the son informed him of some body who was threatening him due to his decision to run for the House of Representative seat. He assured that he would make the name of the person available to the police and appealed that the matter be thoroughly investigated.

According to him, "my son is a very peaceful person and also very prayerful. When he told me he was running for this seat, I had a little fear about this kind of thing that happened now because I know how Edo state is in terms of politics.

But I went in and prayed with my wife and we handed over the matter to God Almighty who we serve. Oghogho was a grassroot politician and I believe that is why people felt threatened when he declared his ambition. But he told me about some body who was threatening him.

He called me after the declaration in the night and we spoke. I have even called the person he told me and confronted the person. I will also inform the police of the person. I cannot understand this kind of wickedness and God will intervene in this matter".

Reacting, a socio_political organization in the state, the Benin Political Coalition (BPC) led by the former Senate Chief Whip, Senator Rowland Owie, condemned the incident and called on the Inspector -General of Police to bring the perpetrators to book so as to serve as a deterrent to others who may want to indulge in violence as the 2011 general election approaches.

In a statement signed by the Secretary General of the BPC, Mr Josef Omorotionwan, the group lamented that "the incident happened to a young man who just had his first son a month ago. No human being has the right to take the life of any body no matter the provocation or the situation."

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state are trading words over the cause of his death. While the PDP accused the ACN of encouraging violence in the politics of the state, the ACN stated that PDP members built the foundation for violence in the state.

The PDP in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Nosa Adams, described the killing as callous, saying that "it confirms the consistent cry of the PDP in the state that the ACN is made up of desperate and do -or- die politicians who will get to any extent to realize their ambition". But the ACN through the Publicity Secretary, Retti Uzzi, absolved the party from the incident, asserting that "we should allow the police to investigate the matter.

It is unfortunate that it happened but I want to state that the ACN abhors violence. We have told all our aspirants to play politics of no bitterness and that any body involved in violence will be disqualified and we still maintain our stand.

We all know the PDP for what they are, they are violent people and that is why they are specialized in violence. But we do not want to be distracted about the claims, let the police do their work before we make further comments".

However, Crime Guard learnt that the police may soon be inviting the incumbent lawmaker in the area, Samson Osagie and Uwamose Amadasun for questioning on the issue.

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