…as ILDC petitions IGP, moves to secure release of victims of police overzealousness
By Mfonobong Ukpong
Plots by the opposition, APC in Akwa Ibom State to intimidate members of the PDP ahead of the forthcoming general elections has been uncovered.
The plots according to intelligence reports is to put the PDP leaders and supporters out of circulation until after the election when they would be released. Parts of the plot would include the branding of PDP buses with the logo of Governor Udom Emmanuel, the Presidential candidate of the party and other candidates. The bus which will have weapons in it, will be filled with some youths and driven to a location where the police would be stationed by the road side and they (police) will stop the bus and conduct a stage managed search and would arrest the occupants of the bus who would name some PDP leaders including candidates contesting election as their sponsors.
Addressing newsmen, Friday in Uyo, the Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Legal Services and Documentation, Barr. Andem Andem who also Heads the Integrated Legal Defence Center, ILDC, a department in the Divine Mandate Campaign Organization said at least 21 members of the party including candidates standing election in the forthcoming election and supporters have been penciled down for illegal arrest and detention by the police allegedly on the orders of the APC.
Already, the ILDC has dragged the Inspector General of Police, Akwa Ibom State Commissioner police and the All Progressives Congress before the court, seeking the enforcement of the fundamental human rights to freedom of expression, movement, peaceful assembly and association as well as personal liberty for members and supporters of the PDP in the state.
Andem listed those whose names have been penciled for police arrest and detention ahead of the election to include, the State Chairman of PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo, Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, and PDP flag bearer for Etinan Federal Constituency seat, Rt. Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke, House of Assembly member for Nsit Atai and candidate of the party for reelection, Hon. Mark Esset, Member for Ibesikpo Asutan State Constituency and party candidate, Hon. Aniekan Uko, Candidate for Nsit-Ubium State Constituency, Hon. Otobong Bob, Chairman, Uyo Local Government Area, Hon. Imo Okon, and the candidate for the House of Assembly seat for Uyo State Constituency, Hon. Anietie Eka.
Others in the list include, Ofonime Sunday Frank, Emmanuel Okon Jackson, Ikpe Matthew Umoh, Stephan Eyo Stephen, Ndifreke Emmanuel Umana, Ekomobong Okure, Idongesit Udo Udo Akpan, Simeon Udousoro, Udeme Okure Otuekong Uduak Ekpeowo, Emem Dennis Asikpo, and Uduak Edim.
Recalled that the APC Leader in the state, Senator Godswill Akpabio and other chieftains of the party have severally been quoted to boast that the election in Akwa Ibom would witness a ‘WarSaw’ strategy.
The opposition have been boasting of federal mights, have they have reportedly admitted that the only way they would capture the state for APC is through the use of ‘federal might’.
To buttress his point, Barr Andem hinted that findings by the legal team and visit to the police station has shown that majority of those detained at the police headquarters in Ikot Akpan Abia were supporters of the PDP who were arrested and thrown into detention on trumped up charges by the APC in connivance with the police.
A cousin to Senator Akpabio who is now incharge of operations, Idorenyin Akpabio has been fingered as the arrow head behind the police overzealousness and harassment of PDP members and supporters.
“Investigations reveals that Idorenyin Akpabio was transfered from his former station to the Police headquarters allegedly with the connivance of Senator Akpabio.
“He(Idorenyin Akpabio) is Officer in charge of the Police Special Anti-Robnery Squad(SARS), a position he is said to be using to perpetuate the harrassment, arrest and intimidation of PDP supporters and members. He has been the arrowhead of this violent violation of human rights”.
“There is a systematic attempt to intimidate members of PDP and run them out of town”.
“Majority of the people in police cell belongs to a particular political party, the PDP. 95 percent of the people in detention in police cell Akwa Ibom are of the PDP, why?
“Most of the people who have been forgotten in prison detention are supporters of PDP”.Are the police telling us that the tendency to commit electoral crime is particular to PDP?
Andem accused the Nigeria Police of compromise, saying the state government won’t fold its hands and allow such to happen.
“The State Police Command has altered the operational rule obtainable in the Nigeria Police. The Officer in charge of Anti Robbery at Ikot Akpan Abia, Idorenyin Akpabio is a cousin of Senator Akpabio. We are not going to fold our alms and allow this to go on, because Akwa Ibom belongs to all of us”.
The ILDC Coordinator warned that if anything happens to the people whose names have been listed for arrest and intimidation, the police and the APC should be held responsible.
“You cannot just dump people in cell and allow them to rot there. We were able to secure the release of that gentleman from Ibiono who was arrested by the police on the orders of APC agents”.
Andem disclosed a recent arrest in Ibiono Ibom where a PDP supporter was picked up by the police on the orders of an aide to Nsima Ekere, Uyio Nathaniel for supporting Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Integrated Legal Defence Center, a department in the Divine Mandate Campaign Organization which serves as a robust response mechanism for all party supporters who are currently victims of Police overzealousness, intimidation, illegal arrest and detention, malicious prosecution and other forms of highhandedness intended to hamper a level playing field for all parties during the build-up to the forthcoming general elections.
In the event of any police arrest of any citizen of Akwa Ibom state who is engaged in any political activities irrespective of the political party one belongs, whether PDP, APC or any other party, the state government through the ILDC has provided a Toll Free number and other social media channels which has been set up for accessibility by victims of police overzealousness. The numbers to call are 080045321122 or 0800ILDC1122.
In his advice to victims of Police illegal arrest Andem said “If the Police demobilizes you by ceasing your phone, you can immediately call the number. Facebook contact is Integrated Legal Defence Centre”.
Barr. Andem cited an instance of the Police violation of human rights recently in Esit-Eket, where a 13 year old boy who was playing football in a field was arrested by the police, transfered to Ikot Akpan Abia and detained on a trumped up charge of attempted murder for tearing a campaign poster”. He disclosed that the Committee was able to secure the boys arrest after the magistrate who tried the case freed the poor boy upon discovery that he being framed up by overzealous police men