The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State has raised the alarm over what it called a systematic killing of its members and called on the international community to investigate the deaths with a view to putting a stop to it.
The party specifically called on Amnesty International, the International Red Cross, the relevant organs of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union and the United Nations (UN) to immediately commence independent inquiries into the gruesome attacks and killings in Rivers State.
The state Chairman of the APC, Dr. Davies Ikanya, made the appeal at an international press conference addressed by the party in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
Reading from a text titled: ‘Peoples Democratic Party’s Bloodletting and Acts of Terror in Rivers State – The Road to Perfidy,’ Ikanya chronicled cases of violent attacks and killings of members of the APC by persons suspected to be members of the rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
He said most of the political violence and crimes in the state had been aided and abetted by the police.
“Most of these heinous crimes have been aided and abetted by the police. In some cases, they simply looked the other way whilst the crimes were committed, whilst in some others they arrested the APC complainants or members or supporters on phantom charges just to neutralise the political influence of the APC in the area,” he alleged.
He added that the plight of the APC in the state “is akin to that of a people in a military in a conquered and occupied territory. PDP thugs and hirelings practically commit murders under the watchful eyes and protective eyes of the police without as much as a slap on the wrist.”
He, however, said the scale of violence was increasing as the date of the elections approaches.
“As the 2015 general election approaches, the scale, magnitude and intensity of the orchestrated violence against members of the APC is assuming a frightful dimension necessitated that we cry out to the Nigerian and international community,” he lamented.
On what the party had done to protect its members, Ikanya said, “Our initial reactions to these flagrant abuses and physical attacks were in the form of strident calls to the president to use his high office to cause the cessation of unprovoked hostility and violence against our people.”
He, however, said the president has not done anything to protect the people while the violence has continued.
Reacting to the spate of alleged attacks and killings, former Petroleum Minister, Prof. Tam David-West, described Nigeria as a failed state which has lost the capacity to protect its citizens and their property.
David-West, who was at the press conference, said, “From what I am seeing today in Rivers State, we have a failed state in Nigeria. The Nigerian State has failed. The constitution is clear: Government is to protect lives and property of citizens. A government that cannot protect the lives and property of its citizens is not worth the name and has no business being there for one second.
“I don’t belong to any political party but I support causes and people. I stand for a government that knows that 19 is bigger than 16.”
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Magnus Abe, has debunked the insinuation that he was at a logger-heads with the APC Governorship Candidate, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, having lost out in the party’s primary, last December.
The PDP had attributed attacks on members of the APC to internal wrangling within the APC following the way the Peterside emerged candidate of the party at the expense of Abe.
Abe said it was not true as he had no problems with Peterside, adding that he was fully part of the campaign to return Peterside to the Brick House.
Speaking at the press conference, Abe, who is seeking to return to the Senate for the second term, said he was working for Peterside’s victory at the governorship election.
His words: “There is no feud between me and Dakuku. He is my friend; in fact, he is my younger brother, we are not just friends. My supporters are working to make sure that he is elected as the governor and that is what I am also doing and that is why I am here
“I nominated the Director General of the Dakuku’s campaign organisation. He is not just my nominee, but one of the best hands we have. If I wanted to fight Dakuku, I would have used him.”