By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA— Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has cautioned the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, over the deployment of soldiers for elections, saying the development was already creating fears among Nigerians across the nation.
The party described the deployment of military for election duties as usurpation of the responsibility of the police, noting that the killings of about 30 people recently ought to have acted as sufficient warning on the dangers of militarising elections.
PDP in a statement, yesterday, by the spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “The deployment of soldiers for the 2019 general elections, despite the extant ruling of the Supreme Court against such, is part of the grand plot by All Progressives Congress, APC, to use the military to suppress opposition, instil fear in the citizenry and forcefully rig the elections.
“General Buratai’s outburst on Wednesday, that the Army will be ‘tough’ in its unconstitutional involvement in the conduct of elections, particularly in Niger Delta, South-East and North-Central, appears to be a license to trigger-happy security agents to re-enact or even scale up their February 23 aggression against PDP figures in the March 9 governorship and state Assembly elections.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note that following Gen. Buratai’s statement on Wednesday, soldiers last night commenced a targeted manhandling and mass arrest of PDP leaders in Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa states.
“In Rivers State, PDP leaders are being tracked down, arrested and taken to unknown destinations. The state Commissioner for Education, Dr. Tam Gogo Jaja, who was picked up by soldiers, is still being held in an unknown facility.
“Furthermore, compromised security agents have been hounding, arresting and detaining PDP figures in the North Central states of Kogi, Benue, Kwara and Plateau states ahead of the March 9 elections.”
It further called on Nigerians to prevail on the army chief to do everything possible to prevent a breakdown of law and order during the elections.