All Progressives Congress, APC, has cried over continued killing of its members in Rivers State, saying so far it had lost 55 members in Rivers in the run off to the April 11 governorship and House of Assembly elections.
The party also accused security agencies of colluding with Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, thugs to kill, maim and destroy property of its members in the state.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday, national publicity secretary of APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed also accused the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, of joining the ruling PDP to perpetrate the evil.
According to him, only last week nine members of the APC 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 the state.
“We have lost 55 persons so far in the run off to this election. APC does not have the capacity or the will to frustrate election. You all saw what happened in Rivers State during the last election. If you did not see anything, at least you saw when the returning officer was asked to read the results, he could not because it was not written by him.
“Same thugs set ablaze the residence of Vincent Ogbagu, our candidate for the House of Assembly elections. Dozens of our members have been arrested on frivolous charges, just to put them away. At least four persons were arrested just because they defected to our party.
“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.
“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.”
The APC spokesman alleged that most of the attacks were carried out with the collusion of the security agencies, who he said had 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 civisional police headquarters at Kpor.”
He also came down hard on electoral umpire, saying it colluded 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 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.”
Mohammed therefore called on local and international observers, as well as the civil society organisations 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.
“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 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 these untoward actions will go scot-free as they will be made to face the full wrath of the law.”