Amidst the confusion and embarrassing denial by the police, the Edo State government has explained why it issued a statement claiming that the Managing Director of BUA’s Obu Cement Company, Yusuf Binji, was declared wanted by the police.
A Government House statement, issued by Governor Godwin Obaseki’s media aide, Crusoe Osagie, had claimed that the governor’s convoy was attacked on Thursday by militants.
The attack, Mr. Osagie claimed, was instigated by Mr. Binji whose company has been involved in a dispute with a rival cement company, Dangote Group, over the ownership of a mining site in Okpella, which the state government recently ordered shut “to forestall an outbreak of violence”.
Some of the employees of the Obu Cement Company were arrested on Wednesday on the orders of the governor for allegedly violating the stop-work-order.
But the police, both at the state and at the force headquarters, Abuja, have denied knowledge of the alleged attack on Mr. Obaseki.
The police also denied declaring Mr. Binji wanted.
“I don’t have that information that the governor was attacked,” the police spokesperson in the state, Chidi Nwabuzor, told PREMIUM TIMES, Friday morning.
“We don’t also have the information that the managing director of the cement company has been declared wanted.
“We are getting this information from the media and like you, we are also trying to find out if they are correct or not,” said Mr. Nwabuzor, a deputy superintendent of police.
The governor’s media aide, Mr. Osagie, who said he was briefed about the “attack” by the Government House chief security officer, expressed surprise over the police position on the alleged incident.
He explained to PREMIUM TIMES what happened.
Mr. Osagie said that the “attack” took place in the afternoon at Okpella, Etsako East Local Government Area, when the governor was leaving the palace of Andrew Dirisu, the paramount ruler of Okpella Kingdom.
“They set a bonfire, they blocked the road and were throwing missiles at the governor’s convoy. The police people were present,” Mr. Osagie said, adding that it was on the strength of the information from the Government House chief security officer that he issued a statement that the police had declared Mr. Binji wanted for the “attack”.
Mr. Osagie said the government had reported the case to the police but did not mention who filed a report with the police and when.
“We are still going to have to get back to the police on this,” he said.