Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
Four governorship candidates from different political parties in Rivers state, yesterday protested to the headquarters of the Police Command in the state, alleged intimidation and illegal arrest of party members by security personnel loyal to Governor Nyesom Wike.
The governorship candidates include Tonye Cole (All Progressives Congress), Senator Magnus Abe (Social Democratic Party), Tonte Ibraye (African Democratic Congress) and Dumo Lulu-Briggs (Accord)
The gubernatorial candidates and their supporters stormed the Police command, protesting declaration of some persons wanted by governor Wike.
The aggrieved opposition governorship candidates are raising alarms over activities of Local Government Council Chairmen in collaboration with security agencies who have been allegedly instructed to execute the orders of arresting members of opposition parties.
The Guber Candidate of APC, Tonye Cole while addressed journalists at the Command Headquarters on Moscow road, Port Harcourt, demanded the Inspector General of Police to instruct that no political arrest must happen and those arrested must be released immediately.
Cole demanded that traditional rulers must come out to redirect that everyone should come out to vote candidates of their choice contrary to their earlier directives that anyone who must come out must for the interest of a particular candidate.
“This is a multi-party decision. We have on good record that we have been victimised, intimidated, our members are being arrested. The Governor, Nyesom Wike gave an instruction to all local government chairmen and their party cohort to enforce intimidation on the people of Rivers state.
“As we speak now, party members across board are being arrested. We have come to Force Headquarters, we met with the Commissioner of Police briefly. We told him what the situation was, he said he is not aware of what is happening in the state. There AIG elections who also does not know that people are being arrested in this state.
“Elections cannot hold under this situation and that is why we are here today. We are here to intimate the people of Rivers state that we have done everything within our power to ensure that there is a secure environment for free and fair elections. You know what happened on February 25; the election after it was conducted, the results were mutilated. We cannot have that tomorrow”.
Cole disclosed some their demands to the police as include that “If this situation continue tomorrow, we demand that the Inspector General of Police must instruct that no politically motivated arrest should happen and everybody that were arrested on political reason must be released.
“That all instructions that have been given that traditional rulers in the state whereby they have been going around saying that anybody who will vote for any political party other than PDP will.be severely punished. Such instructions must stop, they have been threatened even to their life.
“That the security agencies, the military and others must step up their surveillance and ensure that everyone who is seen with military and police uniforms and not authentic must immediately be arrested and displayed”.
On their parts, the governorship candidates of Accord, Lulu-Briggs and Social Democratic Party, Senator Abe after expressing displeasure over the happening in the State, threatened to resist every attempt to enslave the people.
They also threatened to resist any electoral process that did not follow due process to produces any governor in the state, warning that the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies must up their game to handle the situation.
THISDAY observed that one of the election Supervising Commissioners of Police was present when the protesters arrived the command but excused them to wait after one hour for the meeting but never came back to address the protesters.