The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Edo State has alleged that Governor Adams Oshiomhole and the All Progressives Congress, APC, have piled pressure on the Police to harass, intimidate, unlawfully arrest, detain and torture PDP members in a bid to break their spirits or keep them out of circulation until after the September 10, 2016 governorship election in the state.
A statement issued on Monday by the PDP Publicity Secretary, Chris Osa Nehikhare accused the Governor of instructing the police to launch a large scale unwarranted arrest and detention of vibrant PDP youths across the three senatorial districts, adding that APC members have turned to “pointers” for the police.
He stated that many PDP youths in Edo South have had to be creative to evade the gestapo operations, adding that in some cases, parents of PDP members are arrested in their stead and made to pay huge sums of money as bail.
The party however described the reported threat of Oshiomhole that PDP members prepare for more arrests and prosecution as the desperate stand of the captain of a sinking ship, reassuring its members and teeming supporters of support in the dark moments of their persecution in the hands of the police.
Part of the statement reads…
1. A couple of week ago, our governorship running mate, Hon. John Yakubu addressed a small rally of over 250 youths, women and men on Akenzua road in Benin City, at about 5.30pm. Soon after he left the venue with his convoy, Governor Oshiomhole ordered men of the Nigeria Police to arrest many of the youths claiming they were cultists who just had an “outdoor meeting”.
?2. A few days ago, some APC thugs driving a branded APC van drove into a ward 2 meeting in Fugar, Estako Central Local government, and injured two, who are receiving treatment in hospital. Even with the information that they know the driver and where he had gone to hide the vehicle, our boys were arrested when they went to the police station to report the matter.
3. In Estako East Local government, the police under the instructions of Governor Oshiomhole manufactured a charge of attempted murder and took the case to a magistrate court that lacks jurisdiction. Of course the magistrate was forced to remand them in prison custody.
4. A month ago, the PDP Chairman of Etsako East, Abdulganiyu was arrested and brutalised by the Police and APC supporters under the guise of settling a rift between the two parties right in the police station.
5. On the 28th of August, 2016 at Ilushi in Esan South East local government area, the APC governorship candidate, Mr. Godwin Obaseki was provoked as he campaigned because of the poorly attended rally. As a result, he incited his APC members and supporters to attack and brutalize our youths. Under the instructions of Governor Adams Oshiomhole, the police is now arresting the victims of these vicious and malicious attacks.
On the 6th of August, we received warnings from two reliable top government sources, that the State government has perfected a plan to arrest a number of PDP chieftains and leaders on the eve of the elections. The sources said the persons were named in a list which was approved by the Governor himself and his aides.
The evidence of this wicked plan was made glaring a few days ago when the Attorney-General of the State, Barr. Henry Idahagbon, changed the charge of assault and conduct capable of the breach of public peace against our youths who were arrested while on a peaceful protest and charged to a magistrate’s court, to murder and communal fight. Promptly again, the accused where remanded in prison custody.
While we eschew violent reactions, we make bold to say that we can neither be cowed nor forced to abandon the trust the people repose in us to defend the vote they will cast on September 10. Our decision to chart the path of peace should not be taken as a sign of weakness.
However, as we continue to exercise restraint and maintain peace in the face of tyranny and assault in the hands of officers of the law compromised by Governor Adams Oshiomhole we want to put all lovers of democracy on notice that the arbitrary arrest and demonic detention of our members is an invitation to anarchy and a threat to democracy.
We therefore, call on all responsible individuals and institutions to join us in condemning the unla
ful and biased actions against our people who have conducted themselves within the boundaries of the law and the privileges of democratic freedom.
We urge the police to please desist from intimidating, harassing and detaining our members and to immediately release all those who have been thrown into police cells and prisons across the state on the prompting of Governor Adams Oshiomhole and his APC.
Edo people should be left alone to decide the party they want to entrust the control of their affairs in the next four years. The police should not be used to constitute an impediment for our freedom of democratic choice. We have had enough of impunity and oppression.