March 14, 2023

Guber election: PDP hiring, arming thugs to cause mayhem — LP alleges

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By Anayo Okoli, ENUGU

THREE days to the governorship and House of Assembly elections, the Labour party in Enugu State has accused the ruling PDP of recruiting scores of thugs and heavily arming them to unleash mayhem on Labour party members and supporters in the state, especially areas where the party has very strong with a view to scaring them away and rig the election.

The party said it has credible intelligence regarding this plot which has been escalated to security agencies who has been working on them. According to the party, the ruling party is using Council Chairmen to execute the plot.

The governorship candidate of the party in the State, Chijioke Edeoga who disclosed this at a press briefing in Enugu, said already the thugs recruited to operate in Isi-Uzo Council area have been arrested with their dangerous arms and now with the police. He also alleged that those hired to operate in Agbani Council area have also been apprehended.

Edeoga alleged that they were being armed with Pump Action guns officially approved for the State Government for use by the operatives of Forest Guard, and urged the the security agencies in the state to conduct an audit of the arms procured for Forest Guards.

The Labour party flag bearer further said that the deadly thugs were procured by the council chairmen of Uzo Uwani, Udi and others, saying that those to work in Udi are presently camped at Umulungbe.

According to him, since LP recorded good success in the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the ruling parting has been plotting evil ways to violently rig the governorship and House of Assembly polls.

But in a swift react, PDP denied the allegation, describing LP as “a wicked lot, who run when no man is pursuing them”. They said that LP is crying foul to cover their alleged “their nefarious plot to unleash mayhem and violence on the people of Enugu during the election.

“We will not condescend to join issues with Labour party which has been unable to manage its unexpected success at the 25th February National Assembly election. In an case, we thank the Enugu LP for letting us into their grand designs to unleash terror on Enugu and massively rig the electoral process”, Nana Ogbodo, director of spokesperson, Enugu PDP Campaign Council, said in a statement.

But giving more details on the alleged plot by the PDP, Edeoga said “evidence abounds of desperate plans by PDP to cause violence and mayhem before and during the election”.

“For instance, in Isi Uzo Local Government, a combined team of the military and the police, after due surveillance, swooped on a Government Guest House where heavily armed imported mercenaries were arrested. They were kept sometime at the Divisional Police office, Ikem and the DPO had to act fast and moved them to Enugu.

“A day before then, a combined team of the police, military and DSS stormed another hideout in Igbo-Eze North Local Government of heavily armed men (allegedly) deployed by the council chairman, acting on instructions from above. Those people have been deployed there, we understand, to begin to unleash gunshots on the Friday preceding the election to cause panic and apprehension.

“Yesterday (Monday), the security establishment was also appraised of another presence of heavily armed men imported from outside Enugu State and insulated into a Government establishment in Agbani, Nkanu West Local Government; it is possible by now they must have been apprehended if the officers were swift as they were asked to be.

“In Uzo-Uwani, the council chairman has also (allegedly) imported thugs from neighbouring Anambra State. Armed thugs are also in Ekwegbe, we believe procured by a House of Assembly candidate.

“The spread of these thugs in the councils under the supervision of Council chairmen makes it logical that they are acting under the same instruction; we have also received credible information that the ones for Udi are lodged somewhere in Umulungbe. These matters call for concern”, Edeoga cried said.

He advised the DMI, GOC, 82 Division, the military establishment to ask for an audit of the Pump Action guns “the Federal Government, acting in the believe that they would be used rightly, authorized Enugu State Government to buy”, saying it is suspected that the guns found with the thugs arrested in Isi-Uzo could be traceable to the guns bought by the State Government.

He called on the Governor of the State as the chief security officer to ensure that nothing happens any resident of the state before and  during the election but to secure everybody.

Edeoga also called on INEC not to allow itself to be used to manipulate the election, saying that its “reputation has been punctured substantially”, even as he called all LP members and supporters as well as all Obidients to come out in their numbers and vote and follow the results to ensure that INEC transmits them to their saver as emanated from the polling booths.