By VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
VANGUARD for a Better Edo, VFBE, a socio-political pressure group in Edo State, has condemned what it called the ongoing use of police to arrest, harass and intimidate candidates of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in the April polls and their supporters in Edo State.
The group advised the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, to call his men to order in the interest of peace and free polls in the state.
Specifically, VFBE, decried the use of policemen from Abuja to harass and intimidate Mr Peter Akpatason, immediate past President of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, and Trustee of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC as well as Deacon Domingo, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN House Representatives candidate for Akoko Edo Senatorial candidate, respectively.
VFBE in a statement by its national coordinator and Director of grass-roots mobilisation, Messrs Donatus Ossai and Bernard Efosa, respectively, called on President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene in the situation.
The group expressed concern over the recent alleged antics of Mr Tunde Akogun of People Democratic Party, PDP, who is seeking a third term to represent Akoko Edo Federal constituency in the House of Representatives.
Instead of showcasing why the People of Akoko Edo should vote for him for a term, he has decided to use the Federal might and police to harass and intimidate opponents. We do not want to be believe that the retired colonel is jittery about his chances in a free and fair elections. We are shocked by the resort to harassment and intimidation .
We learnt that Hon Akogun wrote a petition to the Inspector-General of Police IGP that Comrade Peter Akpatason and Deacon Domingo, ACN Senatorial candidate are preparing to bomb his house, kidnap him and his family and all sorts of frivolous and baseless allegations. We aware that all these frivolous allegations are in a bid to get these Candidates hounded into detention to frustrate them by preventing them from campaigning and making the all important last minute preparations.
We have it on good authority that he has boasted of using federal might to get his way through. This is obviously an abuse of his position as majority leader and an attempt to divert the attention and deprive Akoko Edo people of quality representation.
Even though a rigorous execution of search warrant on the homes of these candidates have produced nothing incriminating, we are informed that these innocent people are still being compelled to report at the head quarter of police in Abuja.
To make things worst, the date has been shifted from Monday 28 to Wednesday 30th at the instance of the retired cornel for reasons best known to him two days to the National Assembly’s election which holds on Saturday the 2nd of April. This is capable of subverting democracy and undermining the fragile political peace in Edo state and environ.
We use this medium to put all progressives, labour and civil society all election monitoring groups on notice and to call on the Nigerian Police to live up to its name, instead of allowing itself to be used to subvert the will of the people .Obviously, this does not reflect the posture of a regime that prides itself of the willingness to conduct free, fair and credible elections.