Demonstrations rock Edo as Obaseki proscribes group

Members of the Association of Okaigheles (youth leaders) in Benin Kingdom yesterday registered their displeasure at Obaseki’s administration’s decision to proscribe their existence by embarking on protests in the state.

The protest caused gridlock at the popular King’s Sqaure (Ring Road), Benin, the state capital, near the palace of the first-class monarch, and other link roads, with pedestrians, commuters and motorists groaning for hours.

The protesters carried banners and placards bearing various inscriptions.

As the protesters were leaving Ring Road, they headed for the expansive palace of the Oba of Benin, in order to let him know of their grievances, while terminating the protest at the Press Centre of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo Council, at the Government Reservation Area (GRA), Benin, where they addressed reporters.

Obaseki recently assented to a law that was passed by members of Edo House of Assembly, through a bill that repealed the Edo State Private Property Protection Law 2017, thereby re-enacting the Edo State Private Property Protection Law 2021, which banned the activities of Okaigheles in the Southsouth state.

The Chairman of the association of Okaigheles, Glory Ikponmwosa, while speaking with reporters at NUJ Press Centre, declared that Okaigheles of Benin Kingdom were not political appointees, while they remained loyal and subjected to only the Benin royal stool.

He said on behalf of the other youth leaders: “We are not politicians and we should not be treated as such, because we are ready to resist any attempt to reduce our rights as traditional citizens of Benin Kingdom by anyone or group of persons, no matter who or what is involved.

“We are natives of Benin Kingdom and we cannot be intimidated or oppressed, under any guise. Okaighele is an age-long traditional position under the Benin native laws and customs, which are over 400 years old, not recent creations.”



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