Tension in Ekpoma over illegal levies

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    • As APC leaders violate Obaseki’s directive  
    From OSEMWENGIE BEN OGBEMUDIA, Benin City
    Tension is rising in Ekpoma over the detention of youth leaders for resisting imposition of illegal commercial park levy on vehicles and motorbike operators in Esan West Local Government Area, Edo State, by APC party leaders and their cronies.
    About seven  youths who were part of youth leaders from Ward 4 consisting of Eguare and Emuado, who had gone to the various parks in the community to enquire why Touts were still collecting illegal park levies that Governor Godwin Obaseki has banned across the state. In the process, there were verbal exchanges, but the youths succeeded in stopping the touts, who they gathered, were contracted by two APC leaders in the community.
    Following the stoppage, two of the party leaders, Mr. Godday Okhilu aka Jealousy, and Mr. Pius Omofuma aka GT, invited the youths for resolution of the crises on 12 January. During the talk GT and Melody allegedly made some calls and security operatives came in and rounded up the youths, claiming that they were tormenting trouble and attacking parks in the community with dangerous weapons.
    The youths were arrested and taken to the Edo State CID Benin City where they were detained for one week. Following the intervention of lawyers and members of the community the 7 youths were charge to Magistrate Court 1 Ekpoma on charges of possession of firearms and attacking members of the community. The magistrate promptly sent them to remand in Ubiaja prisons because it does not have the jurisdiction to preside over a case of firearms.
    The youths have since been in detention and are billed to be court on the 22 February for hearing on their bail application.
    The seven youths in detention are Idenekpoma Sunny, Agbon Festus, Sule Solomon, Aikohi Paul, Omozojie Peter, Eromosele Ehis and Asuelimen Emmanuel.
    Our reporter have repeated attempted to speak with Luis Omofuma who is the MD of GT Restaurant & Fast food, but was denied access based on instruction from him.
    The situation is gradually degenerating into a political crises as APC members in Esan West claim that the action of the two alleged party leaders is giving their party a bad image in the Local government area.
    Other members of the community feel that their youths are been harrased because APC did not win in their ward local government area.
    As the tension is gradually building opinion leaders in the community are calling on the state, federal governments and international community to come to the aids of these youths whose rights have been violated by a government they helped to come into power.

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