The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has decried the clampdown on its leaders in Kogi state by governor Yahaya Bello.
Addressing a press conference at headquarters of the party in Abuja on Sunday, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said the moves was part of efforts by the governor to rig the November 16 gubernatorial election in the state.
The party demanded the unconditional release of its head of security in Dekina local government, Edeh Abutu who it said was arrested on trump up charges.
See text of the press conference
“Nigerians will recall that last Thursday, October 31, 2019, the PDP alerted of the heinous plots by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and outgoing Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state to clampdown on key leaders in the state as well as unleash violence on the people, for their decision not to vote Yahaya Bello back to office.
“We have called you today to notify Nigerians that the APC has commenced the clampdown and punishment of innocent citizens of Kogi state, having realized that the people are not ready to change their resolve to kick out the incompetent, corrupt and disdainful Bello administration.
“The APC, out of desperation, has started framing and arresting innocent Nigerians, harassing and victimizing women and youths, blocking peoples’ means of livelihood and issuing threats on the citizenry, all in the failed bid to inject crisis, derail the electoral process and manipulate the outcome of the polls.
“Only yesterday, the APC, using, some hoodlums and compromised security agents, led by Bello’s illegitimate deputy governor, Edward Onoja, arrested the PDP head of security in Dekina Local Government, Mr Edeh Abutu, over trumped-up charges of possession of firearms.
“It is instructive to state that Abutu had been threatened with arrest and frame-up, several times, by the APC; attacked and harassed on numerous occasions before he was finally framed and abducted by the APC after he pulled a gargantuan crowd for our governorship campaign rally in Dekina.
“The PDP has been made aware of how APC thugs invaded his area of residence, traumatised and harassed citizens with gunshots and abducted Mr Abutu to an unknown destination, after which the illegal deputy governor turned himself into the spokesman of the police by rushing to falsely claim that he (Abutu) made some confessional statement of being in possession of firearms.
“Information at our disposal shows that at the time the illegal deputy governor was publicising his fabricated confessional statement, there was no such record with the Police in Dekina or the State Police Command.
“Our party has also been informed of how the abductors, coordinated by an APC Zonal Chairman, took their victims to the Governor’s Lodge in Dekina as well as how the illegal deputy governor has been mounting pressure on the Commissioner of Police to adopt his fabricated statement against their victims.
“The PDP has also been made aware of plots to frame-up other PDP leaders with allegations of illegal possession of firearms, sponsoring of violence, training of thugs among others, as an attempt to intimidate the citizens as well as cover APC’s violence machination against the people of Kogi State.
“Nigerians are aware of how Governor Bello and the APC have been desperate to suppress the people, inject crisis into the polity, unleash punishment on the people of Kogi state and derail the electoral process, seeing that they cannot win the November 16 election.
“The PDP wants the APC and Governor Yahaya Bello to note that our party is aware of all their plans and that they cannot have their way.
“Our party cautions the APC and Yahaya Bello to note that they are pushing the people of Kogi state to the wall; that the forbearance of the people of Kogi State is being stretched to the threshold, that there is a limit to what they can bear and that they may soon no longer hesitate to unleash their indignation against forces of oppression.
“Already, the continuous detention of Edeh Abutu is mounting agitation among the people, particularly the youth, and the situation is capable of causing a crisis of unimaginable proportion in the state.
“The people of Kogi state have resolved that Yahaya Bello must go. Arresting, harassing and intimidating the citizens will not change anything. Rather it will increase the irreversible disaffection the people of Kogi state already have for the failed Governor Bello and his APC.
“Moreover, Yahaya Bello is surely leaving office in January 2020 after being handed an inevitable defeat on November 16. Anybody supporting him in suppressing the people may find himself sharing his badge of shame and public rejection as a failed leader.”
“The PDP, therefore, urged security agencies “not to allow themselves to be entangled with the APC against the people as such will diminish the trust, respect and confidence that people have for them.”