Police arrest PDP chieftains in Kwara, Kebbi ahead of presidential election

Police arrest PDP chieftains in Kwara, Kebbi ahead of presidential election

- The men of the Nigeria Police Force arrest some PDP chiftains in Kebi and Kwara states ahead of the elections

- The PDP and the police differ on the reason a chieftain of the party, Chief Emeka Okafor, was arrested in Kebbi

- The CNPP alleges that over 20 chieftains of the PDP including a serving senator and candidate have been arrested by security agents in the last one week in Kwara

Less than 24 hours to the presidential and National Assembly elections in Nigeria, officers of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have reportedly arrested chieftains of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Kebbi and Kwara state.

It was learnt that in Kebbi, the police arrested Chief Emeka Okafor and whisked to Abuja over an allegation of vote buying ahead of the election.

Daily Trust reports that the police also arrested the candidate of the PDP for the Kwara South senatorial district, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, for alleged involvement in a political clash.

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Okafor’s arrest was said to have been confirmed by the police public relations officer in Kebbi tate, DSP Nafiu Muhammed, saying he was moved to Abuja for further investigation.

However, the Kebbi chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Saidu Haruna, claimed that Okafor was arrested because he refused pressure to leave the party..

He said: “Over the months, he has been under serious pressure and intimidation to leave the PDP but he refused. He is a philanthropist and a man of the people. We condemn his arrest few hours to the elections.

“The police told us that he was arrested because people were gathered at his residence.”

According to Haruna, the PDP has contacted its lawyer to handle the matter and petition the police.

“You will recalled that at the last peace accord meeting, we raised alarm over the intimidation we are facing,” he said

Meanwhile, he arrest of senator Ibrahim in Kwara has drawn condemnation from the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP).

The political movement described the senator’s arrest as unlawful and meant a clampdown on opposition figures in the state by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government in connivance with security agencies.

Alhaji Adebayo Lawal, the chairman of the CNPP in Kwara, told journalists: “Barely 24 hours to the Saturday’s presidential and national assembly elections, officers of the Nigerian Police Force, who were visibly acting on the orders of the presidency, forcefully arrested and detained Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, the senator representing Kwara South senatorial district, and the candidate of the PDP for the election. Up till this moment, Senator Rafiu, who is a major contender for Kwara South senatorial district election like our other candidates, is yet to be released.

“Similarly, in the past few days, more than 20 members of different opposition parties in the state have been indiscriminately arrested by security agencies and taken to unknown destinations up to the time of making this release. This is a repeat of what happened during last year’s bye-election in Irepodun/Oke-Ero/Isin/Ekiti federal constituency, where top members of the PDP and opposition parties were unlawfully arrested on the eve of the election.

“It is unfortunate that a serving lawmaker who is loved by his people for his sterling performance in the Senate can be subjected to this kind of inhumane treatment on the unsubstantiated accusation from the APC. If the peace-loving Senator Rafiu Ibrahim is clamped upon in this manner, our other candidates are also prone to such flagrant abuse of power.

“There is no feasible evidence to show that the detained Senator had any connection with the Tuesday’s political attack in Ojoku, which happens to be his hometown. We are not saying the security agents should not do their jobs, but to choose the eve of the general elections to detain a strong contender is portraying the security agencies as being partisan to the clear advantage of the candidate of the APC. To assume that the lawmaker could have engineered violence against his own town and people is in the least untenable. Attempts to link him to the fracas are political and unfortunate.”

The CNPP chairman added: “Few weeks ago, when we raised the alarm over the planned crackdown on members of opposition parties in Kwara by the APC-led FG, some cohorts of the APC dismissed it as a false alarm. But we have been vindicated now as we all are now witnesses to what is going on in the state right now.

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“We condemn the use of state security by the APC to harass and intimidate innocent opposition members all in the name of politics and desperate bid to scheme out other candidates in favour of the Candidates of the APC. This is a shameful display of state power.

“We invite members of the fourth estate of the realm, local and international observers, civil society groups, well-meaning Nigerians and all lovers of democracy to rise in condemnation of this unlawful detention of Senator Rafiu Ibrahim and other opposition members and also demand for their immediate release. We all have a duty to protect democracy and save the sanctity of our electoral process.

“We equally want to place on record that we are seriously concerned about the obvious partisanship of the security operatives now in Kwara for the elections. It is highly unfortunate that security men who are meant to be non-partisan as had been in the past here have now decided to take sides against opposition parties and do the bidding of the party in power. This is bad for our democracy. That is why we are disappointed and are of the conviction that the elections in Kwara will not be free, fair and credible.”

Legit.ng earlier reported that the Inspector-General of Police IGP Mohammed Adamu ordered his men to tighten security nationwide ahead of the elections on Saturday, February 23.

According to the report, the directive is contained in a statement in Abuja on Friday, February 22 by the police spokesman, Frank Mba.

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