PDP’s bloodletting and acts of terror in rivers state – the road to perfidy – Being text of a press conference by the Rivers state Chapter of the All Progressive Congress in Port Harcourt on Tuesday the 27th of January, 2015. PROTOCOLS
The greatest obstacle to democratic consolidation in Nigeria is electoral violence. Pre-election violence particularly, is as a result of the rascally disposition of some desperate and greedy politicians who want to secure electoral victory by subverting the process and undermining the rule of law. Whilst the tendency for violence by the People Democratic Party (PDP) is common place, the progressive degeneracy of the situation in Rivers State has assumed an intolerable and indeed dangerous dimension. Apart from the fact that this phenomenon affects the credibility of the electoral process, the legitimacy of the election results and the rule of law; the nature, extent and magnitude of violence indicate unequivocally it is a deliberate tool for intimidation and terror adopted as a policy and backed by security institutions who are paid from our commonwealth to protect our citizens
Whilst election is an irreducible feature of democratic governance, democracy is a social system of administering a nation-state where political parties candidates compete for elective positions in a free and fair election atmosphere, and in which the citizens are legally empowered to choose those who will run the affairs of the state in a given period. Elections are supposed to be competitive, free and fair both substantively and procedurally. Despite the legal frame work that guides the electoral process, the PDP has opted to thread the part of terror as an instrument of divesting the people of their constitutionally guaranteed power to freely cast their votes for their preferred leaders.
Electoral violence is any random or organized act that seeks to determine, delay or otherwise influence an electoral process through threat, verbal intimidation, hate speech, disinformation, physical assault, forced protection, destruction of property or assassination. The aim of electoral violence is either to influence the outcome of the process or to disrupt the entire electoral process.
Rivers State has over the years evolved as the oil and gas nerve centre of Nigeria. It has a growing population of about 5.1 million (the sixth most populous State in the Country) and impressive GDP of 21.07 billion USD – which is bigger than most African Countries such as Botswana, Rwanda, Nambia, Lesotho and etc. the enviable economic and socio-political scorecard of Rivers State has made electable positions attractive. Elections in Nigeria determine who controls and allocates resources and because of the strategic nature of Rivers State in the socio-political and economic calculus of the Country, the PDP controlled Federal Government spear headed by Mrs. Patience Jonathan (whose foot soldier is the obnoxious Nyesom Wike) has turned the contest for the control of the state resources into a fratricidal, tense and brutal one sided war.
The Federal Government of Nigeria under the collegiate presidency of Dr. and Dame Jonathan adopted a deliberate policy of state sponsored violence against Rivers People when it deployed a certain brute in police uniform named Mbu Joseph Mbu intentionally to promote (through manifestly corrupt and illicit means) the ascendancy of Mr. Nyesom Wike to political infamy. Mr. Mbu’s antics are too numerous and very well publicized. However, it may be necessary to remind us that since the day he shamelessly escorted known criminals and outlaws through the streets of Port Harcourt in the guise of a demonstration, violence triumphantly returned to Rivers State
The PDP having established its machinery for violence now began to unleash mayhem in the form of physical attacks on the APC members, killing and causing grievous bodily harm on our members across the State, destroying properties worth millions of naira in the process. It began with a tragicomedy of sorts which held the nation’s attention for several weeks. In the full glare of the nation, five disgruntled and misguided House of Assembly members led by one Evans Bipi and sponsored by the then Minister of State for Education, (both of whom are adopted sons of the President and his Wife), in the company of countless thugs, escorted by Mbu’s band of policemen attempted to overrun the House of Assembly. The ensuing fracas caused untold damage to the House of Assembly Complex, which was subsequently shut down by Mr. Mbu and has remained under lock and key despite several attempts by the Assembly members to gain access to conduct their lawful business.
The absurdity of the attack on the House of Assembly would confound any right thinking person who knows that there are thirty-two (32) members of the House of Assembly out of which, five (5) purported to impeach the Speaker. In the course of their quest to regain lawful access to the House of Assembly Complex, the twenty seven (27) members of the House of Assembly were forced to sit on the bare surface of Moscow Road from where Mr. Mbu dispersed them with tear gas. Mr. Mbu left Rivers State in exceedingly controversial circumstances after presiding over the return of Rivers State to a near state of anarchy into the warm embrace of the president and his dear wife who promptly rewarded him with a “well deserved” promotion. His legacies include the return of hitherto outlawed warlords who have reestablished their camps and are operating visibly. Before he was redeployed, his atrocities reached its apogee with the attempted murder of Senator Magnus Ngei Abe when police men on his orders attacked Save Rivers Movement members at College of Arts and Science premises in Rumuola, Port Harcourt.
Gradually but steadily, the PDP local militia led by Nyesom Wike, funded by the Federal Government and aided by the security institutions have now converted the State to a war zone killing, maiming and taking captives of APC members at will. This is how the Nation Newspaper of Friday, January 23, 2015 captured the situation in Rivers State “For weeks now, men without spine, men of brawn and please permit to add-who lack humanity and conscience have put Rivers State, the Lagos of the Southsouth, on the spot. It is either they are shooting guns or they are throwing bombs. And when they do it, they hide their faces. They are under the cover of the dark masks. Aside guns and dynamites, they also use machetes and other dangerous weapons. Heads have been broken. Necks have been twisted. Arms have had hot leads pumped into them. And there was a woman whose back was reshaped with bullets. It is simply a tale of blood – which has left sorrow and tears in many homes”.
CASES OF VIOLENCE AND BODILY HARM ON APC MEMBERS
The following are but a few of the known cases of death and grievous bodily injuries caused our members by the PDP through its members and hirelings:
Perhaps, the most brazen of all attacks took place in the early morning of the flag off of the Presidential Campaign of the APC in Port Harcourt. Two different sets of gunmen attacked buses conveying APC supporters from different parts of Rivers State to Port Harcourt. The buses located several hundred kilometers from each other were riddled with bullets. A day after the attack the police naively dismissed the attacks as incidents of armed robbery. Whilst it must be noted that nothing was stolen from the victims, one must ask the police why the “robbers” isolated APC members on the same day, at about the same time and in two different locations in the State?
Several APC supporters on their way to the official flag off of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential campaign in Port Harcourt were attacked by gunmen near Harry’s Town in Degema and Sakpenwa in Tai. The cowards were not bold enough to do it without hiding under face masks. They left many unconscious and in their pool of blood and fled into anonymity to spend the filthy money from their cowardly masters.
Ask Aadum Pya-alu, Beatrice Deemua, Sobari Npebee, Barbe Jack, Victory Vinam and Wisdom Akpogbara and they will tell the tales that not only touch the hearts but break them. Pya-alu’s leg shot by the cowards tell all the story; Beatrice’s back-arm can never forget the day hot leads were pumped into it; Npebee, who was shot in the lead and neck, is lucky to be alive to tell the story; and elated is Jack for not dying as a result of the gun attack on his stomach; so is Vinam, who was shot in the leg; and Akpogbara must be thanking God that the bullet he received on the head for daring to identify with Gen. Buhari’s aspiration did not kill him. One wonders what they think about the police’s claim that they were victims of armed robbery, yet their valuables were not taken.
Soon after this, the APC local chapter secretariat in Okrika, the home of Madam Patience Jonathan was destroyed by a bomb explosion. Whilst no life was lost, party members have been terrorized and the message is clear that the PDP and its dangerously armed terrorist gangs will not allow APC to lawfully contest for the votes in Okrika Local Government Area.
Chief Engr. Orerehim was on the 10th of January, 2015 beaten alongside others when they were having an APC chapter meeting at Oro-owo, Rumueme, Ward 10, Obio-Akpor LGA by thugs sponsored by Hon. Timothy Nsirim, a former Local Government Chairman, cousin and political ally of Nyesom Wike. He was seriously beaten and injured. He reported the matter to Rukpakani Police station, Ada George road. No arrest, invitation or investigation was made by the police.
On the 11th January, 2015, the Paramount Ruler of Rumuolumuni Town in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area, HRH Eze Ndubueze Wobo Oumeni, ordered that all APC bill boards/posters be removed by PDP members in his community on the ground that his community belongs to the PDP. One Chief Wobo Owhor led some young men to carry out the order of the Paramount Ruler. One Hon. Kingsley Emenike tried to stop the destruction of APC signages. Chief Wobo Owhor and his boys bet Emenike up. His head was broken by one Martins Amadi and was taken to the hospital only for him to be arrested on his hospital bed and later released on bail. Aham Wobo who was not at the scene was also arrested and in detention presently, a case of the complainant being the accused. Nyeweli Omunakwe Nyeche Nsirim, King of Rumueme community who is Timothy Nsirim’s father, put a lie to his son and the PDP’s story when he accused his son of using thugs to disrupt the All Progressives Congress (APC) rally. According to him, the APC stalwarts in the community duly obtained the blessing of the Chiefs to organize their political rally. He describe as false the claim by the PDP that Okocha and APC supporters attacked the former council chairman. The question I ask is: Is the traditional ruler lying against his son?
On the 16th of January, 2015, the PDP fired what would now be a warning shot of its serial bombing campaign when explosives were detonated in the Andoni Local Chapter Secretariat of the APC.
On the 22nd of January, 2015 in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area, some group of PDP thugs led by Hon. Evans Bipi destroyed APC billboards/banners and injured one Mr. Precious Tende. That was the third time Evans Bipi and his cohorts had willfully destroyed APC banners/billboards in Ogu, headquarters of the Local Government Area. the Ogu Council of Chiefs, the police at Ogu, the SSS and the Joint Task Force Unit are all aware of it.
On the 23rd of January, 2015, some PDP thugs numbering about 24 attacked the private residence (Ihunwo Street, Rumuwike) of Barr. Cyprian Chukwu, a member of APC in Ward 9 destroying valuable properties. He was lucky not to be at home when they came. They decapitated a young man in the premises and he is lying critically ill in the hospital with machete wounds on both arms.
In the early hours of the 24th of January, 2015, thugs on the orders of Mrs. Patience Jonathan, PDP attacked the National field in Okrika which was to be the venue of APC rally scheduled for the 24th of January, 2015 with guns and explosive devices, destroyed the musical/public address system, canopies, podium and chairs. Thereafter, they attacked the residence of APC Councilors and members in Okrika Local Government Area. The police are yet to make any arrests.
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 of supporters on phantom charges just to neutralize the political influence of the APC in the area. below are some of the flagrant cases of police harassment, intimidation, unlawful arrests and detention against members and supporters of APC in Rivers State.
CASES OF POLICE VICTIMIZATION, ARRESTS, DETENTION, BRUTALIZATION OF APC MEMBERS IN RIVERS STATE
In Omuma Local Government Area, Hon. Emeka Wogu, a former member of the Rivers State House of Assembly, a former Commissioner and currently Chairman, Caretaker Committee, Omuma Local Government Council was arrested and accused of shooting at Mr. President’s billboard. Meanwhile, that very day 25th August, 2014, he was at Joint Allocation Committee meeting in Port Harcourt and was nowhere near Omuma Local Government Area. He arrested on the 27th August, 2014 by over 60 armed policemen in a commando style, handcuffed in the presence of his children, thrown into SARS, Port Harcourt, detained for 2 days and released without any charge.
In Soku Community, five APC supporters, Kalas Okpara, Brown and others were arrested on 28th of November, 2014 on spurious allegations of sea piracy held up in SARS. Only one was released while others are still facing incarceration.
In Ahoada East Local Government Area, Mr. Grant Otis Ideozu, APC party agent for prison Barracks unit 6, ward 4, Ahoada East LGA was arrested on the 5th of December, 2014 by the DPO (Ahoada Division) on the allegation that he had an altercation with someone at the unit during the collection of PVC. He was beaten up and locked up for days, transferred to Port Harcourt for further detention and released on the 13th December, 2014 without a single complaint by anybody.
In Emuoha Local Government Area, Hon. Gowon Emma Wokea, a former Councilor and an APC stalwart in Ibaa, Emuoha Local Government was arrested on the 10th December, 2014 t Rukpokwu Town, Obio-Akpor Local Government by SARS operatives. They alleged that APC bought guns for Mr. Wokea and other APC supporters. Others who were arrested with him were released while he was transferred to Force Headquarters, Abuja where he is still been held up till date with no charges filed or pending against him.
In Akuku Toru Local Government Area, Stanley Don Pedron Ngoye Briggs and Sunny Ereme were similarly held on false charges at SARS since 10th December, 2014 and only released about 2 weeks ago. Ngoye Briggs was arrested for withdrawing money from his account in UBA, Abonnenna. While others were arrested on “suspicions of having capacity to cause problems”. All arrests were just to pave way for PDP to have an edge over the APC during collection of PVCs in the area. Christian Don Pedro from Kula was arrested on 13th December, 2014 at Kala Town for going home to register during the continuous voters registration exercise on the spurious allegation of threat to life and abduction of a soldier. All allegations proved false, yet he has not been released. He has been detained at SARS since then.
In Ikwerre Local Government Area, Godwin Wojinda was arrested by SARS for stopping one Isi from running away with PVCs belonging to ward 3, Omagwe, Ikwerre Local Government Area. He is still in Police detention even when the culprit returned the hijacked material to the INEC Local Government Area Electoral Officer. He was not arrested rather the complainant was arrested and still in police detention.
In Omuma Local Government Area on the 15th of December, 2014, Hon. Justice Nwogu (CTC member and supervisor, security and social development, Omuma LGC) was arrested at Rukpokwu in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area over framed up charges of illegal possession of firearms and attempted murder just because he had a squabble with PDP members. He is still being held in SARS deadly cell. The police have not commenced any form of investigations and no charges have been filed against him.
In Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Mr. Pius Wosu, APC Ward 16, Chairman in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area was arrested and detained on 7th January, 2015 in the State criminal investigation department (SCID) on a trumped-up charge of malicious damage of PDP billboard. Mr. Pius Wosu was incarcerated at the SCID for over 2 weeks. On the early morning of the said date, Mr. Pius visited ward 16 office only to discover that all the party flags, billboards and party candidates’ posters within the party office had been destroyed and carted away.
Mr. Pius promptly informed other leaders of the ward of that development and was advice to immediately report the matter to Ozuoba Police station. On getting there to report the matter to the police, Mr. Pius was informed that there was similar report already against him and eight (8) others. Nine of them were subsequently detained at SCID.
In Eleme Local Government Area, Solaka Osaro Saloka, Gomba Obo Saloka, Olua Saloka, Victor Nnaa Oji, Nsikak and Prince were arrested on Monday, 13th January, 2015, bailed on Tuesday 14th January, 2015 for one million naira and re-arrested on the 15th January. They were detained at SCID for protesting over the removal of APC billboards by PDP members.
In Degema Local Government Area, Otonyemie Kuna, Truman Agiobu, Solomon Yellow, Success Braide, Kunle and Omuo Sunday, APC supporters in Degema Local Government were arrested on Wednesday, 14th January, 2015 allegedly for gun trafficking and now in SSS cell, Port Harcourt. There is no evidence to support the allegations. Their arrest is just part of a larger plan of PDP in Rivers State to arrest most APC loyalists before the general election on February 14, 2015.
In Abua/Odual Local Government Area, Igoma Loveday Gift, Caretaker Chairman, Abua/Odual, Udi Udum former Chairman, Abua/Odual Local Government Council and Raphael Muzan Ekpelu, have been under constant harassment and intimidation by the police over deaths that occurred as a result of cult clash on the 15th January, 2015 during the PDP Governorship Campaign rally in Abua/Odual. They were all not in Abua/Odual on that said day and are not members or sponsors of any cult group they were detained for nearly one week
On the 15th of January, 2015 in Oyigbo Local Government Area, ward 5 where PDP supporters removed posters of APC candidates. APC members of the ward led by the ward Chairman, Monday Omezuruike protested. The ware Chairman was arrested and beaten up by the police and detained in Afam police division.
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. Of course, these calls fell on ears deafened by an unbridled hatred for Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi and an unquenchable desire to punish him for daring to speak out against the incompetence, insensitivity and duplicity of the Jonathan’s presidency and the intolerable meddlesomeness of an incurably obtrusive and cantankerous wife who manifests more power than the President. It took the National Assembly’s constitutional intervention to prevent a gang star style takeover of the Rivers State Government. Even then, the National Assembly resolution demanding redeployment of Mr. Mbu was disdainfully ignored by the President.
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 necessitating that we cry out to the Nigerian and International Community. Our plight is akin to that of a people in a militarily conquered and occupied territory. PDP thugs and hirelings practically commit murders under the watchful and protective eyes of the police without as much as a slap on the wrist, the objective being to antagonize and intimidate our supporters into believing that it is unsafe for them to come out and vote, thus effectively disenfranchising them.
This press conference is our distress call to all men, women, organizations, nations and people who cherish democracy to intervene before it is too late. It is unimaginable that a president who himself claims his roots from the Niger Delta region and who assumed office on the wings of agitations for equity and justice would permit unprovoked premeditated violent attacks on the same people he hopes to ride on their primordial sentiments to retain his presidency. The president’s cavalier attitude to the escalating violence in the State borders on criminal negligence because he knows or ought to know (or in the least remember) the level of arms in circulation and the historical volatility of the State (and region).
Not too long ago, the President pretended that the Boko Haram menace was a local religious nuisance not worthy of his attention. Today, it has snowballed into a full scale civil war in at least three (3) states in North Eastern Nigeria with thousands of men, women, girls and boys killed, kidnapped or unaccounted for. Today in Nigeria, the death or kidnap of fifty, hundreds or even a thousand Nigerians in the hands of Boko Haram is not worthy of comments by the President but he found his voice to inexplicably condemn the killing of eleven people in France. Whilst we join the world in condemning the unfortunate terrorist attack on the media house in France, we call on the International Community to persuade our president to rise to the task of leadership to protect lives and property, or step down from the presidential contest as he has no moral standing to be flying around in a presidential jet campaigning for re-election protected by dozens of other aircrafts and thousands of military personnel whilst unable to perform his primary constitutional function as president – to protect Nigerian lives and property even on our soil.
We call on Amnesty International, the International Red Cross, the relevant organs of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) to immediately commence independent inquires into the gruesome attacks and killings in Rivers State. We call on these and other humanitarian and democratic organizations and institutions to set high powered election monitoring networks, teams and processes to monitor the election in Rivers State to avert unnecessary bloodbath which may cripple our already weakened economy. An acceptable electoral outcome is possible in Rivers State but only if the elections are truly free and fair. There cannot be free and fair election if the spate of violence high handedness intimidation and terror is not halted. We pledge to remain law abiding but we shall defend ourselves, our people and their votes by all lawful means.
May God bless Rivers State and bless Nigeria too.
CHIEF DAVEIS IBIAMU IKANYA
Chairman, APC, Rivers State
1. APC All Progressives Congress
2. CTC Care Taker Committee