Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has vowed to go to court and challenge any authority which seeks to infringe on his fundamental human rights if his right to movement from one place to another within the country is violated again.
Speaking at the weekend when the management of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Benin Airport Branch paid him a visit to apologise over the recent incident at the Benin Airport where his chartered helicopter was stopped from flying, the governor who said he had direct contact with President Goodluck Jonathan following the incident, said: “I’m convinced that he (president) didn’t give those orders that I should be stopped.”
He said: “The next time I’m so interrupted, I will not fail to go to court and challenge the infringement on my fundamental rights to movement. We need to strengthen our democracy. We need to breathe air into our multi-party democracy.”
He advised the airport authorities to shun partisan politics and insist on professionalism, saying “it will be a sad day if the management of a sensitive institution that has to do with air safety joins the club of politicians and political actors.
“I am saying this from my experience over the cause of my stewardship here. Twice my chartered chopper has been stopped by your agents and the airport authority for reasons that have nothing to do with professional judgment but purely for partisan political reason.
While apologising to Oshiomhole over the grounding of his chartered helicopter, the Airspace Manager, NAMA, Benin Airport, Mr. Ibekwe Ikechi, said: “If things have happened before, let it be in the past, please.”
He sought a cordial working relationship with the Edo State Government of with a view to further improve on the operations of the Benin Airport.
Meanwhile, the governor said the crisis rocking the state House of Assembly has persisted because the four suspended lawmakers in the state House of Assembly have refused to obey a subsisting court order, saying those who make laws must be seen to obey the laws they make.
Speaking on the protracted crisis in the state assembly when he granted audience to the leadership of the Edo Civil Society Organisation (EDCSO) in Government House, on Friday, Oshiomhole said he spoke to both parties on the matter on the need to settle the matter amicably to avoid distraction in their legislative duties.
He said: “My attention was drawn to the issue and I spoke to the two sides on telephone. I said, you have to find a way to resolve this because I don’t want any distraction, whether we like it or not, the time I spend explaining this and the time you have spent discussing among yourselves to agree, is time we could have used for other things.”
Oshiomhole maintained: “What is at stake is fundamental to the maintenance of peace and security. I can’t be a governor presiding over anarchy. People who lead in making laws must be seen to obey the laws they make.
“I think therefore that on this occasion, the civil society which include people who are committed to good governance, people who are committed to building a civilized society have no choice but to tell those disobeying judicial order to go back and obey the order.”
He said: “They struck a deal; namely that the House Members will obey the suspension order by staying away and then the House would set up a committee. The committee over the weekend would have deliberated on the matter and by Monday, they would make a decision to vacate their suspension and the four persons would go back to the House.
Oshiomhole further said, “The two sides told me this is fine, but you see, don’t forget there are rules, if you subscribe to this, it is binding on you. If your members now refuse to abide by it but to subvert it, you have no basis for co-existence.”
He added: “What is at stake is fundamental to the maintenance of peace and security because if you cannot appeal to lawmakers to obey the law, is it thugs you are going to appeal to in order to stop thuggery?
Oshiomhole added: “Unless we stand by the truth, we can’t survive as very ordinary people. So I appeal to you to find the courage and pronounce on the side of the rule of law and on the role of protecting the judiciary.
The governor also accused the police of emboldening the suspended lawmakers by not enforcing the court order on their suspension.