Some civil society organisations have appealed to the governor of Cross River state and the inspector general of police to ensure they do not interfere in the forthcoming bye-election in the state.
The organisations made the appeal at a press conference attended by Legit.ng reporter in Abuja on Friday, February 11.
Speaking at the conference, Martin Obono, the executive director of Tap iNitiative for Citizens Development warned against the random and continuous transfer commissioners of police in and out of the state.
Following the declaration of vacancies by the speaker of the House of representatives, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had fixed bye-elections for six constituencies in 4 States across the country.
The constituencies include Akure North/Akure South Federal Constituency, Ondo State; Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency, Plateau state; Pankshin South State Constituency, Plateau State; Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency, Cross River State; Akpabuyo State Constituency, Cross River State; Ngor-Okpala State Constituency, Imo State.
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The bye-elections would hold on Saturday, February 26, 2022.
Obono noting that it is the sum of the individual actions that impact Nigeria as a country, said with the Cross River bye-elections around the corner, certain interference and activities of the police in the state is worrisome.
He said the purpose of elections in any part of the world is to give citizens the opportunity to freely choose those who will govern them without any interference.
And the right to vote is sacred and it must be respected by the Governor of Cross River State, the Nigerian Police Force and all other security agencies responsible for conducting a free, fair and peaceful elections
He warned that residents and indigenous if the state have raised alarm over the level of insecurity in the state.
"14 out of the 18 Local Government Areas in the state have active crisis ranging from kidnappings to protracted communal clashes including gang wars that many refer to as cult clashes, robbery among others that have left many people dead.
"It is based on the aforementioned that we call on the security agencies in Cross River State to focus their energies on protecting the lives and properties of citizens instead of being used by the state government to carry out partisan activities in during the bye-elections."
He urged the police chief to caution his officers on election duty to maintain the highest level of professionalism in their conduct and ensure that a desired level of stability is experienced in the stare throughout the period of the election.
Obono added that the groups have also noticed a further decline in democratic participation in the state as the government of Cross River State consistently uses MOPOL 75 to brutalize women who protested bare chest the usurpation of their farmlands.
"Democracy is losing its taste in Africa and even in Nigeria and we must be very careful of the actions we take and out activities at the local level."
Also speaking, Ariyo -Dayo Atoye, the executive director of Adop A Goal Development Initiative said the government of Cross Rover state must remain impartial and nonpartisan.
He also called on the security agencies especially the police and the inspector general of police to ensure that they are not used by politicians for their selfish interest.
"Let them all know that whatever they do would definitely hunt them in one way or another.
"The people of Cross River state should be given the opportunity to freely exercise their franchise and this is very important.
"We are appealing to Governor Ben Ayade and the IGP to please not interfere with the election process."
Attack on CSOs, opposition and the media by Cross River government
Atoye said the move by the Cross River state government led by Governor Ayade to intimidate key stakeholders in the state is condemnable.
He said the civil society organisations, the media and even the opposition in the state and their activities have continued to be threatened by the state government.
"We are not happy about how the state governor has been harassing the CSOs, media and many others."
Atoye said CSOs, the media and party agents in the state will be expected to go about their various monitoring activities following accreditation by the Independent
He (Governor Ayade) was a private citizen before now and after May 29, 2023, he will return to being a private citizen having lost his immunity and this should be his guide."
Buhari saved Nigeria from collapse, Governor Ayade declares
Legit.ng had previously reported that Governor Ben Ayade has praised President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts over the insecurity in Nigeria.
According to the Cross River state governor, the country would have collapsed if not for his drive.
The governor said this on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily. He said the president’s military background helped in making that possible.