…says our leaders, candidates no longer safe
…seeks IG’s intervention over denial of police protection
John Alechenu, Abuja
The National Chairman of the Labour Party, Barrister Julius Abure has decried the upsurge in the spate of assassinations of its party leaders and candidates across Nigeria.
Abure described the situation as not only worrisome but also a great threat to democracy.
He lamented that members and supporters of the LP have been victims of harassment, assaults and outright assassination, describing the latest killing of one of the party’s House of Assembly candidates, Christopher Elehu, in Imo State, as one too many.
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The LP Chairman expressed worry that the party’s request for police protection has largely been snubbed while candidates of other political parties move about with detachments of policemen as aides and escorts.
In a statement, in Abuja, on Saturday, Abure who expressed sorrow over Elehu‘s gruesome killing by suspected hired killers, recalled the recent killing of the Women leader of the party in Kaduna state, Mrs Victoria Chimtex.
He said it was worrisome that two months after her murder no one has been charged in court.
The late Elehu was the Labour Party (LP) candidate for Onuimo Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly.
Apart from killing him, the gunmen also set his country home ablaze and destroyed his property.
Barrister Abure said, “The increased attack on Labour Party members and faithful is now alarming. Just a few weeks ago, our women leader in Kaura, Kaduna state was murdered in cold blood with the husband sustaining injuries and still in the hospital.
“About six weeks ago, the senatorial candidate of our party in Ebonyi State was kidnapped after police took the responsibility for his arrest. This was after days of his incarceration, he is now released without any charges.
“The billboards of all our candidates across the country are being pulled down and destroyed. There are a series of attacks on the party members and leaders across the country, and the mother of it all is the murder of this candidate in Imo State.
“We are using this opportunity to call on Mr President, security agencies, especially the Police and DSS to protect Labour Party, its leaders and members.
“Election is not a do-or-die matter. The government must ensure that a level playing field must be created for all political parties, both those in power and those not in power. Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the blessed memory, once said the opposition is the soul of democracy.
“If there is no opposition then, of course, there is no democracy. Therefore government in power must not only protect those in government but also opposition party members.
“As of today, a lot of our candidates have no police protection, even me as the National Chairman, all my application to have police that was approved, yet none has been drafted to me.
“As the Chairman of one of the most popular political parties, I still do not have security assigned to me. Our officers are exposed, our members are exposed and with the high level of insecurity now, we have become very vulnerable.
“So we are calling on the President to use his good office as well as security agencies to secure Labour Party, all its candidates, party members and supporters so that we can have a hitch-free election.”
He further said, “This is important because, with the series of attacks on the Labour Party members, it shows that there might never be a hitch-free election. It is a serious threat to democracy.
“Democracy offers the citizens the opportunity to make choices and vote for candidates of their choice, so when they are been harassed, their leaders being killed, viable contestants being killed, including their supporters, it means that democracy is under threat.”
“Those in government swore to uphold the constitution, I, therefore, call on those in government to provide security across, so that our democracy will not be in jeopardy. It would not be in the interest of anyone, particularly those who will be in government tomorrow to allow the democracy to be threatened,” he said.
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