January 31, 2023

CUPP petitions Buhari, says politicians blackmailing military to unleash violence

The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has sent a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, asking him to investigate certain politicians in Kogi State over an alleged attempt to cause mayhem and insecurity in a bid to disrupt the coming elections.

In a petition signed by no fewer than 15 leaders of the group, the CUPP urged the President to use his constitutional powers as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, to ensure that politicians whose actions are geared towards making the Nigerian political space conducive for terrorists to thrive are arrested and brought to book.

In the letter titled “Urgent Need to Arrest and Prosecute Politicians Trying to Scuttle the 2023 Elections by Blackmailing Our Military”, the CUPP singled out a senatorial candidate of the opposition party in Kogi State as the alleged “number one promoter of insecurity” in the state and urged the President to direct the security agencies to act on several petitions against the candidate.

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The CUPP leaders said as a major opposition voice since its formation in August 2018, the Coalition had been consistent in opposition activities, which tends towards the advocacy for free, fair and credible election, adding that CUPP members had the patriotic duty to address issues that might affect the overall wellbeing of the country regardless of the political party involved.

The opposition body faulted an earlier petition by a law firm, allegedly written to discredit the Military and the Chief of Naval Staff, saying, “It is not difficult to see through the shenanigans of the petitioners that it was a sponsored blackmail by a desperate politician or a group of disgruntled politicians hell-bent on compromising the security of the state prior to the coming election in order to give free reigns to terror and thuggery.”

In its petition, the CUPP specifically said that the senatorial candidate had, in late 2022 organised a campaign rally at Okene, Kogi Central Senatorial District, and allegedly imported Niger Delta militants into the state for nefarious activities, wondering why security agencies had not invited the candidate till date.

On an earlier petition, which they said was questionably filed by a law firm that had allegedly been hired by promoters of terrorism, the CUPP warned the present administration not to allow unscrupulous politicians defame the military to pave the way for anti-democratic and criminal acts being planned ahead of the elections.

The CUPP petitioners stated that the petition from the lawyers is a blackmail because Commander Akalezi had been dealing with terrorists, who had been going about terrorising Kogi State, its environs and, particularly, Ebira indigenes.

It says it is a petition written in bad blood with no iota of credible substance.

“As lawyers, the petitioners know exactly what the due process of law they should apply if their petition has any merit whatsoever. If what they are alleging has any modicum of truth, they ought to have gone to court to enforce their fundamental rights.

“What they are after is to get the Navy Special Forces disbanded so as to enable them unleash their gangs of bandits on Kogi State and its environs or use them as political thugs during the coming elections in order to compromise the election and force themselves on the people of Kogi State at gunpoint. The government must never succumb to such blackmail,” it stated.

The CUPP leaders reminded the President that he narrowly-missed being a victim of the nefarious onslaughts of the said criminals when he visited Kogi State recently.

“We know that it was a politically motivated attack to score political points by heartless politicians who don’t mind shedding blood simply for the purposes of political blackmail,” they stressed.

“For instance, the law firm alleges that the Chief of Naval Staff has been financially induced by the Governor of Kogi State without any strand of proof.

“He who alleges has the onus of proof hanging on him. It can be observed that no such proof was attached to the petition because it’s a mere object of blackmail,” they added.

The CUPP therefore urged the President to take prompt action on the highlighted issues “before political desperados make good their plans to truncate the 2023 elections through active promotion of insecurity.”