October 29, 2010

Opposition parties accuse Abia environmental agency of intimidation

By Anayo Okoli
Umuahia—SOME opposition parties in Abia State have accused the state environmental agency, ANSEPA, of intimidating them and slowing down their campaigns by charging them exorbitant fees for pasting their candidates’ campaign posters in the streets of cities in the state, especially Umuahia .

Some of them alleged that the General Manger of ANSEPA, with protection from Bakassi Boys and even mobile policemen, invaded their offices and allegedly carted away property and cash.

The campaign organization of Chris Akomas had last week complained that ANSEPA brought some outrageous rates to them, being fees they were asked to pay before posters could be pasted. But the groups asked the General Manager of the agency, Dr. Cosmas Ndukwe, to show proof  of payment of such fees by other aspirants, especially the governor.

The Akomas Campaign Organization warned the general manager not to allow himself to be used to settle political scores.

Just yesterday, the campaign headquarters of Chief Ikechi Emenike, who is aspiring for the post of governor under PDP and his supporters, alleged that the same Ndukwe led a dreaded team of Bakassi Boys and mobile policemen to invade their office and allegedly made away with the sum of N3.5 million from the office.

They also claimed that the Bakassi Boys and policemen “maimed, harassed and intimidated anybody found in the office.”

In a statement signed by Chief Ben Etie and Mr. Egwuatu Egbulefu, Emenike’s campaign office claimed that the money was removed from the chairman’s office, adding that visitors to the office were tortured and taken to the Police Area Command office in Umuahia and detained for two days.

“We hereby condemn in totality his action which is aimed towards intimidating and suppressing us into accepting the illegality in dissolving the PDP state executive committee and replacing it with illegal one,” it said.

Chief Emenike’s campaign office called on the agency to render an apology within seven days to the group, while also charging the police commissioner to investigate the matter.