By Lucky Isibor
The police in Benin City, Tuesday quizzed the Edo State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Dan Orbih, over his allegations of fraud in the distribution of relief items for internally displaced persons in Benin by the state government.
Orbih had in a press conference accused the state government of allegedly diverting over 4,000 bags of rice donated by the Nigeria Customs Service to internally displaced persons in Uhogua.
He was later invited by the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo, following a petition by the governor urging the security agency to ask the PDP chairman to prove the criminal allegations.
In the petition signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Osarodion Ogie, and addressed to the police commissioner, the government had said, “The purpose of this complaint is to formally bring these weighty and unsubstantiated allegations to your attention and to request a thorough investigation with a view to establishing the veracity or otherwise of same.
“It is the contention of the Edo State Government that Chief Dan Orbih should be called upon to provide evidence of the serious crimes he has alleged to have been committed by the Edo State Government and to furnish your command with facts, details and proof of the allegations he has made in the public domain.”
It was learnt that Orbih made a statement and was questioned for several hours by investigative police officers.
The development sparked a protest by supporters of the PDP, who accused the state government of allegedly using the police to intimidate the opposition.
Orbih said, shortly after his interaction with the police commissioner, that his statement to the security agency substantiated his claims. He insisted that the state government misappropriated the rice sent to the IDPs.
According to him,”From my own statement, it has been well established that the government of Edo State misappropriated the rice meant for the IDPs. I also want to commend the Edo State Police Command for the mature and professional way they have handled this issue.
“Now that they (state government) have decided to ask the police to be investigating, we will be giving more information so that they can write more petitions to the police for investigation.”
“I think these are very weighty allegations; in my own opinion, it is being put forward by the government to incite members of the public against the PDP in Edo State. In a democracy, there must be opposition.”