- As IGP warns against breach of peace
Embattled national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, the Caretaker committee chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, workers and other leaders of the party yesterday stayed away from the party’s national secretariat following the sealing of the premises by the police.
A detachment of both regular and anti-riot policemen on Sunday sealed the PDP secretariat and barricaded the two exit point into the premises with two trucks, Toyota hilux vehicles and patrol cars consequent to the controversial parallel national conventions of the party in Port Harcourt and Abuja last weekend.
Following the sack of Modu Sheriff and all other members of the National Working Committee, NWC, the Port Harcourt convention inaugurated a seven-man Caretaker committee headed by former Kaduna state governor, Ahmed Makarfi.
After their inauguration, members of the Caretaker committee gave indications that they will formally resume at Wadata Plaza national secretariat of the party to assume office.
However, the embattled national chairman, Modu Sheriff insisted that he remains the chairman of the party as he had already called off the convention following the receipt of four different conflicting High Court injunctions that restrained the party from electing officers into various offices at the convention.
Modu Sheriff also argued that Caretaker committee is alien to the PDP constitution as there is not provision for such contraption to take over the administration of the party.
When Nigerian Pilot visited the party secretariat yesterday the detachment of policemen that sealed the premises was still in place while workers that reported for duty were denied access into the premises.
The workers were noticed at the in groups discussing under trees at the improvised car park opposite the main gate of the secretariat.
Most of the workers went back home after several hours when there were no signals that the police with unseal the premises.
Both the sacked NWC members and the new Caretaker committee also stayed away from the PDP secretariat.
Our correspondent gathered that Modu Sheriff travelled to Lagos where most of the court injunctions emanated from, apparently to see how his team of lawyers can vacate the court orders.
There was no word about the whereabouts of the Caretaker committee members.
However, it was gathered from authoritative sources that the party’s Board of Trustees, BoT, met for several hours at an undisclosed location in Abuja over the logjam in the party.
Chairman of the BoT, Senator Wahid Jubrin, was expected to brief journalists from all major media houses in the country that laid siege at secretariat about the outcome of the BoT meeting but this was aborted after the journalists waited in vain for him.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police has explained why it sealed the PDP.
Force spokesperson, Bisi Kolawole, in a statement yesterday said intelligence at the disposal of the Force leadership indicated that some aggrieved factional leaders and members of the party had perfected plans to engage thugs from across the country to join them in threatening public peace and security in Abuja.
This, she said, was sequel to the on-going intra-party leadership crisis in the party and further fallout of the recent political engagements of the Party.
The statement said plan of the brains behind the development was to infiltrate Abuja and attack the Headquarters of the PDP with intent to forcefully occupy the facility.
Continuing it said, “Towards perfecting this criminality, credible Police sources confirm that the actors will mobilise into Abuja with effect from Monday 23rd May 2016 and they intend to march through major streets in Abuja before proceeding to the PDP Secretariat to manifest their intention.
“Consequently, the Inspector-General of Police has directed the deployment of Police assets to secure the PDP Secretariat and protect the staff until the threat to internal security that is being occasioned by the intra-party crisis within the PDP is stabilised.
“The police action is a proactive initiative which is being placed in furtherance to the statutory mandate of the Nigeria Police to prevent breakdown in law and order and protect lives and property.”
Arase, however, warned all actors in the crisis as well as their loyalists to refrain from any act that may threaten public order as the police shall deal promptly, firmly and decisively with such persons or group in line with their legal obligations.