Military personnel and police operatives have reportedly raided Edo residents protesting against the State government ordered demolition of some properties at Ego-Emokpae popularly called ‘Okoroma village’ and environs in Oredo Local Government Area of the State.
Recall that the Government in a backhanded acknowledgment, had said it repossessed over 1200 hectares of land in Irhirhi-Obazagbon-Ogheghe Areas that were allegedly encroached on by ‘land grabbers’ to pave the way for the proposed new town in the area.
On Thursday’s incident comes one month after suspected thugs armed with machetes, chased away some affected property developers protesting at the new State Secretariat Building complex in the Local Government Area.
It was learnt that operatives reportedly drove to the scene and swopped on the unarmed protesters who converged on the King square in Benin City to protest and draw the Government attention to their plights.
Unconfirmed reports said some of the protesters held a rough end of stick after making some disparaging comments against the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, plunging them on the horn of dilemma.
Comrade Philip Imafidon, journalist who escaped attack by the whiskers, alleged that a Benin based Human right activist had finished addressing the peaceful protesters when trouble started.
He said an unspecified number of persons were arrested and handcuffed by security personnel who condoned off the area, and thereafter thrown into waiting security vehicles.
Media practitioners who were assigned to cover the protest, and bystanders from recording, according to Imafidon who spoke from his hideout.
He also alleged that some persons were injured during the pandemonium, adding that he took to his heels upon sensing danger.
“The scene, described the operation like a Nollywood movie. I had to run for my life”, he said.
A Broadcast journalist who was caught in the melee, and made to trek a long distance under the scorching sun, accused the agents of Government of violating rights of citizens to lawful Assembly.
Neither the Government nor the police have claimed responsibility for the arrest.
The spokesman of the Nigeria Police Command in Edo State, SP. Chidi Nwabuzor, is yet to comment on the incident.
The speaker of Talakawa Parliament, Marxist Kola Edokpayi told our Correspondent that five of the arrested protesters have been detained at the police headquarters in Benin as at the time of filing this report.