We have called you here today to intimate you with the worrisome development in Rivers State, where the PDP and its governorship candidate, Mr. Nyesom Wike, aided by the security agencies, have continued to kill and maim our members and supporters.
Though this marauding started before the March 28th Presidential and National Assembly elections, it has become progressively worse as the Governorship elections approach on Saturday (April 11th)
Let me give you some instances.
1. Last week, nine members of our party were killed in cold blood, while many others were injured, when armed PDP thugs invaded Obrikom and Obor communities in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government of Rivers state.
These same thugs set ablaze the residence of Vincent Ogbagu, our candidate for the House of Assembly elections.
2. Dozens of our members have been arrested on frivolous charges, just to put them away.
3. At least four persons were arrested just because they defected to our party.
4. APC members have been subjected to persistent harassment and intimidation across the state, using the Police in Rivers and the Zone 6 in Calabar. Over 150 prominent members have been victims of this unprovoked persecution.
5. And just today, we received another sad news from Rivers. An APC chieftain, Christopher Adube, was reportedly shot dead over the weekend. Adube, who hails from the Egbema Local Government Area, was said to have been shot dead at his residence
These are just some of the instances of what APC members and supporters in Rivers State have been subjected to in recent days.
THE ROLE OF THE SECURITY AGENCIES
It is very sad indeed that the terrorizing of APC members and supporters in Rivers State has been carried out despite the presence of the police and other security agencies in the state.
In fact, most of the attacks were carried out with the collusion of the security agencies, who have exchanged the garb of partisanship for that of professionalism. Elements of the security agencies have also participated directly in the targeted harassment and intimidation of our members. Even when our members have run to the police for succour, they have found none.
The case of the Chairman, Caretaker Committee, of the Gokana Local Government Area, Mr. Kadilo Kabari, was particularly astonishing. He and Senator Magnus Abe, who represents Rivers South-East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, were attacked by PDP thugs right inside the Divisional Police Headquarters at Kpor.
Their offence was that they dared to challenge PDP thugs, dressed in INEC kits, who were engaged in massive rigging during last week’s Presidential and National Assembly elections in the state
That these PDP thugs could use a police station for rigging speaks volumes about the role of the security agencies in that election.
THE ROLE OF INEC
Unfortunately, the violence targeted at APC members in Rivers, especially during the last elections, was carried out in the full glare, and in most cases with the connivance of INEC officials in the state.
Of course, it is needless to say that the collusion of INEC with the PDP and the police to pave the way for unbridled violence against APC members and supporters, and the subsequent rigging of the elections, was spearheaded by the Resident Electoral Commissioner for the Rivers, Ms. Gesilia Khan. This issue is already the subject of a very strong petition which our party has written to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja.
We have decided to give the details of the relentless killing, maiming, harassment and intimidation of our members and supporters in Rivers State before, during and after the Presidential and National Assembly elections so that Nigerians can see that everything has been done, and is still being done, to make sure that free, fair and peaceful elections do not hold in the state
The attacks, arrests and intimidation targeted at APC members and supporters in Rivers have become even more widespread in the run up to the Governorship and House of Assembly elections.
We are very concerned that the prevailing atmosphere of mindless violence and brigandage does not augur well for a free, fair and credible elections in the state.
We are worried that no one has been held responsible even where our members have been killed, and that the police and other security agencies, as well as INEC, have turned themselves to appendages of the PDP, in what is nothing but the height of impunity.
We are, therefore, using this opportunity to call on local and international observers, as well as the Civil Society Organizations under the aegis of The Situation Room, to pay a close attention to Rivers State – as well as other states considered to be flash points – during the forthcoming Governorship and House of Assembly elections.
In particular, they should beam their searchlight on the role of the security agencies and INEC officials in Rivers, who have decided to jettison their neutrality and join the fray.
To prevent the security agencies from becoming the tools of harassment and intimidation in the hands of PDP members and officials, we are opposed to the attachment of security personnel to PDP officials during the elections. This will go a long way in reducing cases of persecution of our members.
The hierarchies of the security agencies, especially the police and the DSS, as well as INEC, must read the riot act to their members posted to Rivers State for election duties. The kind of mindless collusion with the PDP by the same officials mandated to ensure free, fair, credible and peaceful polls – which was witnessed in Rivers during the Presidential elections – will not be tolerated this time.
We appeal to our members and supporters in Rivers State to continue to conduct themselves peacefully, while making sure they document every case of killing, maiming, harassment and intimidation targeted at them, as well as all instances of election malpractice. In the fullness of time, no one who has engaged in this untoward actions will go scot-free as they will be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed,
National Publicity Secretary,
All Progressives Congress (APC)