Osazee Edigin


Juliana Francis

The Interim TEC Chairman of the Edo Civil Society Organisations (EDOCSO), Leftist Austine Enabulele, has taken a cohesive look at the raging issue between honourable Justice Geraldine Imadegbelo and the former Public Relations Officer of the organisation, Comrade Osazee Edigin former.

Enabulele said EDOCSO would not have reacted further to the unfortunate disposition of a high court judge in outright disregard for traffic laws, however, the arrest and subsequent detention of Edigin necessitated the need to put the records straight.

Enabulele added: “EDOCSO as a coalition of civil rights groups in Edo State will not fold its arms and watch our laws being disrespected by those that should know better and those that preside on similar infractions to award punishment and fines on offenders.”

He explained that on the 17th of November, 2022, Edigin received a distress report from officers of Edo State Traffic Management Agency to the effect of being assaulted and manhandled by boys loyal to Imadegbelo, a high court judge for contravening a vehicle she was an occupant having run the red light in Navis Junction along Mission Road in Benin City and evidence provided in videos.

Enabulele said: “As a social activist, he used his social media platform to bring the situation to public knowledge and called on the appropriate authorities to take action as the agency’s personnel feared for their lives as they were taken to the high court premises against their will. Only a petition was caused to be written against Comrade Edigin to the Nigeria Police, Edo State command. He honoured the police invitation and gave a statement to the extent he knew about the incident which truly happened. The said petition never denied the fact that a traffic infraction took place with a vehicle conveying the judge but was only concerned about the role of Comrade Edigin in putting the incident in the public domain. The question to ask the high court judge is, did her vehicle run the red light? Did she reprimand and hand over the driver and vehicle to the enforcement officers for prosecution? Was her driver made to face the court and pay the prescribed fine as others? Why did she call her boys to assault the officers and forcibly take them to her office instead of the EDSTMA office? Can she have the morality to further sit on cases of traffic offences when she supervised one without doing the right thing? From all indications, the petition, arrest and detention of Comrade Osazee Edigin were all ill-advised to divert attention from the already committed traffic infraction and the roles played by the high court judge. It can also be viewed as an attempt to intimidate and silent Edigin.”

The chairman said that EDOCSO as the voice of the people will stand tall to speak truth to power at all times, adding:  “The brazen disregard and disrespect for traffic law is most unfortunate expected of a judicial officer that has sworn to an oath of office. It would appear the law is only made for the poor and not those that are supposed to uphold it.”

Enabulele noted that one would have expected the judge to tender an apology and allow her driver to face the legal process like every other citizen she sits in judgement on. “What then becomes the impression of the common citizens on obedience to law when a judge hasn’t shown a good example?  For all it is worth, Comrade Edigin hasn’t committed any crime for reporting what actually happened and should be left out of the issue in focus. The commissioner of police, a professional officer to the core duly ordered his release immediately after he got the facts of the matter. How can one leave out the substance and be chasing clouts? We are fully prepared to defend democracy, the rule of law, fairness and equity as nobody is above the law. Government agencies must be protected from those that see themselves as powerful and above the law. We have nothing to lose save that, we will ensure the right thing is done towards attaining a better society for all. We all complain about weak government institutions, yet we are not willing to strengthen and build the institutions, in other clans, the judge would have resigned with a public apology.”

According to him, the issue of traffic infractions could not be swept under the carpet, it must be addressed and dealt with.

“We are calling on the Chief Judge of Edo State and the National Judicial Council to investigate the traffic infraction involving the high court judge and related issues. This will build confidence in the vast majority of the populace that all and sundry must respect the law, and our government Institutions must be strengthened,” said Enabulele.

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