By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN â€” THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, yesterday, appealed to the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ogbonnaya Onovo, to investigate and prosecute a gunrunner (names withheld) who was arrested by the police with a cache of arms, including military bullet proof vests and charms in Benin City.
The party alleged that the person in question is a member of Action Congress (AC) and that the ammunition was meant to be used to unleash mayhem on PDP members in the forthcoming House of Assembly re-run election in Etsako Central local government area of the state scheduled for 23 January 2010.
However, in a swift reaction, AC, through its state Publicity Secretary, Mr. Retti Uzzi, disowned the alleged gunrunner, saying he was never known as a member of AC.
He said â€œwe believe in one man, one vote and that is our stand. But we will resist any attempt by the PDP to use federal might to rig the election.â€
However, the state Commis-sioner of Police, Mr Danlami Yarâ€™Adua, who confirmed the arrest of a suspected gunrun-ner, explained that the police knew him as leader of a vigilante group but was found with several ammunitions, including pump action guns and charms.
â€œCarrying ammunitions without licence is an offence and if after investigation we find out that the ammunitions are not licensed, he will be prosecuted according to the law. He is already in custody of the police and he will be here until we conclude investigations,â€ Yarâ€™Adua said.
AC has done it before,says PDP
The PDP, in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Chief Nosa Adams, recalled that the party had raised a similar alarm during Akoko-Edo re-run election, when it alerted that AC was allegedly moving arms into Akoko-Edo for the election and nobody listened.
â€œWe also have proof now that AC has been engaging some innocent youths to be mobilised to launch other acts of electoral violence during the election.
â€œWe commend the swift actions of the law enforcement agents who apprehended him.Â We also appeal to them not to allow the investigation be swept under the carpet.
â€œWe appeal to Nigerians to join us in condemning this barbaric and undemocratic actions in severe terms. Edo people are peace loving and they will continue to be peace loving, but this love for peace must not be mistaken for weakness,â€ PDP said.