BY CHIOMA GABRIEL, DEPUTY EDITOR
Ten people including a pregnant woman and a passerby were injured when the Police in Abakaliki Thursday , shot into the crowd with tear gas and rubber bullets and forcefully dispersed a peaceful procession led by a former Senator Dr Emmanuel Onwe, Chief Fidelis Nwankwo both Senatorial candidates for the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, and All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP respectively in the just held NASS elections in Ebonyi State. The victims are lying critically wounded and receiving treatment at the Ebonyi State Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki.
The protesters, who were a coalition of registered political parties in Ebonyi State, were protesting what they termed as the partisan role of the Nigeria police in the State in the last National Assembly elections. They alleged that some members of the police force aided the ruling party in the State to divert election materials to places other than the designated centres for the elections and were allegedly used to intimidate members of the public to dissuade them from casting their votes in some areas.
Addressing the crowd at the Peoples Club arena from where they set out for the office of the Commissioner of Police in Abakaliki, Senator Onwe and Chief Nwankwo charged the youths not to be docile in the face of politics of imposition of candidates that was being practiced in the State.
They reiterated that it was their responsibility to take their destiny in their own hands as the people who are maintaining a stranglehold on power were not prepared to let go.
The candidates observed that democracy meant a government of the people, by the people and for the people and not a situation where a handful of individuals would be lording their wishes over the majority.
They remarked that the peaceful protest march to the office of the Commissioner of Police was a way they could register their displeasure at the role of the police in the State who ordinarily were supposed to maintain law and order but turned themselves to willing tools in the hands of the politicians to thwart democracy.