The Oba of Benin, Ewuare ll, has prevailed on a coalition of Benin socio-cultural organisations to shelve their planned protest over the arrest, arraignment, and remand in prison, of Secretary to the Benin Traditional Council, (BTC) Frank Irabor, and some chiefs, stating that issues surrounding their predicament were being resolved.
The detainees were arraigned for alleged illegal demolition of over 60 houses in Ulegun village in Ikpoba-Okha local government area of Edo State.
The socio-cultural organisations had planned a solidarity protest for Monday September 5, over their plight. They were arrested last Wednesday by the police, and docked on Thursday in a Benin High Court.
Recall that the illegal demolition, allegedly carried out on the order of Irabor, had sparked protest by the community, which attracted the attention of both the state government, and the state Police Command.
However, apparently to douse tension, the BTC, in a press statement signed by the chief press secretary to the Oba, Iguobaro Osaigbovo, and made available to journalists, said the reason for the planned protest was being addressed by the palace.
The statement reads:
“The attention of the Benin Traditional Council has been drawn to a planned solidarity gathering by the Coalition of Social-cultural Organisations over the arrest and detention of the Secretary, Benin Traditional Council, Frank Irabor, and some chiefs in Benin Kingdom.
“While the Palace appreciates their concern, let it be known that the Palace of the Oba of Benin does not want such gathering at this time, and consequently directs that the organisers of the gathering halt the exercise immediately.
“The issue in question that led to their arrest is being resolved. In this regard, nobody or group of persons should gather in the Oba of Benin Palace, or anywhere in Benin Kingdom on Monday 5th September, 2022.
“This announcement is important for all those concerned to comply please”, the statement concluded.