Group under the aegis of Afenmai Progressive Youth Vanguard, APYV, has described the allegation by another group called Forum for Progressives Governance and Accountability, Forum4PGA, that the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clement Agba, sponsored thugs that hijacked the #EndSARS protests in Edo State as both irresponsible and wicked.

APYV in a statement issued in Benin City by its publicity secretary, Moses Ainofenokhai, said from the content and tenor of the publication, it was evident that it was a state-sponsored propaganda aimed at achieving a disingenuous objective of negatively characterising Prince Agba.

The timing of the publication, which coincided with the visit of Prince Agba to Edo State to engage with stakeholders on the instructions of President Muhammadu Buhari as issued to all ministers, gave the sponsors of the propaganda away as cheap and perhaps unthinking,” the group noted.

It raised a number of questions to validate its claim that the allegation against Agba came from the state government circles, pointing out that instead of hiding behind a finger by using a non-existent group, the sponsors should have been courageous enough to formally point the finger at the minister if they were sure of the facts of his involvement.

According to them, “Why was it that it was on the day Prince Agba planned to arrive in Edo State after he had announced his plans to engage with critical and relevant stakeholders in the state, and having informed the state government of his itineraries, that the malicious publication began to do the rounds in some sections of the media?

Has the state government not given reasons to suspect it when, last weekend, in the heat of the looting of a government warehouse at Medical Stores Road in Benin City by suspected hoodlums in search of COVID-19 palliatives, the state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki pointedly accused those he defeated in the September 19, 2020, governorship election of being the sponsors of the hoodlums who hijacked the peaceful #EndSARS protests and looted the warehouse?”

The group warned Forum4PGA and its sponsors to desist from promoting malicious, mendacious and hate campaign against Prince Agba whose pedigree, according to it, “is noble and distinguished.”

According to the group, “Prince Agba is a decent politician without any record of brigandage in his eight years as commissioner in Edo State during the administration of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. 

He believes in the deployment of superiority of ideas and not force in driving the policies, programmes and machinery of government.”