Accusation, counter-accusation as explosion rocks Edo APC factional secretary’s residence

THE Edo State government and a governorship aspirant in the state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, on Tuesday were at loggerheads over the bomb explosion that rocked the house of a factional secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Mr Lawrence Okah.

The explosion, which allegedly occurred at about 12.30 a.m. on Tuesday, shattered the kitchen side on the ground floor of the building and dug a hole in the ground.

Although no casualty was recorded, another explosive which failed to detonate hung on the veranda rail of the top floor of the house, but was later removed by a team of police anti-bomb squad at about 8.00 a.m.

The latest explosion came after another suspected bomb blast which rocked the Benin residence of another top APC leader, Chief Francis Inegbeneki and the attempted assassination of the former Edo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Henry Idahagbon.

Okah, Idahagbon and Inegbeneki are all loyalists of the national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole.

Okah, who took journalists round the house, said no life was lost in the explosion as one of the explosives threw at his bedroom failed to explode.

However, speaking during his visit to the scene, Ize-Iyamu described the attack as wicked and despicable, while pointing the finger at Governor Goodwin Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu.

He argued that the attack was politically-motivated as the governor and his team had been threatening mayhem in the state.

Ize-Iyamu, who expressed worries over the turn of events in the state, urged security agencies to call the governor and his supporters to order to prevent anarchy.

“The state secretary lives here, the bomb that did not explode was targeted at the window whereof he sleeps, his wife and children live in the house. Where the second one exploded, just a little distance away, were gas cylinders, and you can imagine if that bomb had made contact with those cylinders, this entire house would have been brought down in fire and everybody would have died.

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“There is no doubt that this action was politically motivated, this cannot be the work of armed robbers, it’s not the work of kidnappers, it’s not the work of children. It was a deliberate act of political wickedness,” he said.

The special adviser to the governor on media and strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie, however, accused Ize-Iyamu and members of the Edo People’s Movement (EPM) of being behind the series of shooting and killings in the state.

Osagie recalled that on October 19, 2014, Ize-Iyamu announced that his house along Dennis Osadebey Way, GRA, Benin City, where his wife was carrying out her dental practice was bombed and, at that time, he pointedly stated that Oshiomhole, who was then governor of the state, was responsible for the attack.

The government spokesman said from that time till now, usage of explosives and other weapons in causing mayhem and heating up the political space in the state had stopped.

Osagie argued that it was curious that with the coming back of Ize-Iyamu into the political space in the last three months, extreme political violence had resurfaced with bombs going off in parts of the state and gunmen attacking politicians.

“We have stated before that the EPM, under the sponsorship of Oshiomhole, Ize-Iyamu and others, having lost out of the political powerplay in the state and failed repeatedly in their inordinate quest to seize power from Governor Godwin Obaseki through undemocratic means, have now resorted to violence to create a sense of a breakdown of law and order with the intent of forcing the declaration of a state of emergency in the state,” he said.

He urged the presidency and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to call Oshiomhole, Ize-Iyamu and their supporters in the EPM to order so that the destructive descent to violence did not erode the good legacies that had been built over the years by the APC in Edo State.

The state police spokesman, Mr Chidi Nwabuzor, could not be reached for comments as of press time as his mobile phone was engaged.

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