The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Edo State, has petitioned the Nigeria Police over an alleged attack on its member, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, by suspected thugs at the Benin Airport penultimate week.
The party made the disclosure on Monday during a peaceful protest by scores of its supporters from the seven local government areas that make up the Edo south senatorial district the Senator represents at the National Assembly.
The protesters, who carried placards as they marched from the PDP state secretariat on First East Circular road to the Nigeria Union of Journalists secretariat on Reservation road, described the alleged assault on Urhoghide as a disregard for his legislative right.
They also chanted solidarity songs, urging the residents to promote democracy and shun hooliganism.
The lawmaker was criticised by supporters of the APC for moving a motion on the floor of the Senate to invoke Section 143 of the Constitution against President Muhammadu Buhari over the withdrawal of $496 million from the Excess Crude Account to purchase military aircraft without the approval of the National Assembly.
Urhoghide’s comment had also led to a clash between supporters of the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party at the Benin City airport on April 27, where he was allegedly attacked.
The Edo PDP, in the letter of complaint addressed to the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Babatunde Kokumo, urged the police to investigate the alleged attack on Urhoghide and expose the perpetrators, whom it said carried out the act in the presence of Governor Godwin Obaseki.
The petition, signed by a lawyer to the party in Edo South, Mr. Chris Agbonwanegbe, said; “Senator Matthew Urhoghide was really harassed, intimidated and assaulted by those hooligans who evaded the airport.
“We humbly appeal that you pay kind attention to these ugly incidents and carry out an investigation to unravel what really happened and those behind it.
“We refuse to believe that any individual is above the law. Therefore, we appeal to you to use your good offices in aid of the pursuit of justice and for the protection of our client’s dear life.”
Also speaking during the protest, the State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, accused the state government of being silent on the issue
Nehikhare said, “We know the person who hit the senator’s head very hard, to the extent that his cap fell off and he (Urhoghide) lost consciousness briefly as he attempted to pick his cap from the ground.
“We are not interested in who the others were because they did not lay their hands on our Senator. But he that laid his hand on our Senator must be arrested and charged to court for assault.”
The Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie however said Senator Urhoghide was a victim of his own orchestration.
“A lion handler or snake charmer who lost control of his beasts and became a victim of his violent circus. As we said before, Urhoghide has to explain to Edo people, why after several trips to and from Benin without riotous reception, he decided to order PDP youths out of their homes to invade the airport on that occasion.
“Engaging thugs that Governor Obaseki has since retired is not a ‘senatorial way’ of assisting our youths who need skills to set up businesses,” he said.