Market women and widows in Edo state have staged a protest against the extortion and poor treatment meted on them by the Obaseki-administration through its officials charged with implementing some of its ill-thought policies that have failed to curb the continuous spread of COVID-19 in the state.
Speaking through VBOSUNU, a popular program on ITV, in Edo state, they decried their forced movement to tight, unfavorable spaces in schools where they stand a great risk of contracting the coronavirus disease and are crippled by the location’s lack of basic amenities meant to aid trade.
Repeating the publicized condemnation of the Obaseki’s special court by the state’s chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association, the market women, widows, and other vulnerable groups lamented targeted harassment and extortion by state officials representing the court and flagrant abuse of rights.
In a published review after an independent assessment, the NBA, Edo State Chapter, had earlier criticized the nature and operation of the special court set up as Obaseki, describing it as an extortion ring where people’s rights and dignity are trampled on with impunity.
It said that the court was targeting the vulnerable in the state and subjecting them to harsh, inflated fines that go against legal recommendations in a possible move to line their pockets – a claim that has now been corroborated by the market women during the protest.
Another point of concern for the vulnerable groups in the state is the government’s apparent failure to distribute relief efforts despite claims by the governor of having expended over a billion naira. Many attested that they are yet to receive anything from the government and those that did merely received items that couldn’t see them through a single day.
Complaints like this are common throughout the state even though the governor, distracted by the mutiny and infighting within his administration over looting, has commissioned a campaign of lies and deflection through his aides and media advisors.