“21 INEC staff have been arrested and told to implicate Wike”, Rivers PDP alleges

The Rivers state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged that 21 ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who took part in the legislative rerun election in the state have been arrested and told to accuse Nyesom Wike, governor of the state, of offering them bribe.

In a statement it issued on Thursday, the party said the electoral officials were arrested on Wednesday and flown to Abuja the next day.

It said a source at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) in Port Harcourt confided in it that they would soon be paraded at a press conference that would be organised by the police high command, “in conjunction with the top leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC)”.

“Twenty four hours after the 15-man panel set up by the inspector-general of police to investigate the alleged violence during the December 10, 2016, re-run election in Rivers state visited the state governor, Nyesom Wike, in Government House, Port Harcourt, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Rivers state, has confirmed that 21 ad-hoc staff of INEC, who took part in the legislative re-run election in the state and served in areas where candidates of the PDP won, were last night arrested and detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department, in Port Harcourt,” read a statement signed by Jerry Needam, spokesman of the PDP in Rivers.

“Sources disclosed that those arrested were transferred to Abuja in the afternoon of today, and they are being forced to confess receiving money from the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidates.

“According to a source at the State CID, more arrests would be made and those arrested will be transferred to Abuja and paraded during a press conference that would be organized by the Police High Command, in conjunction with the top leadership of the APC.”

The party said the development shows that the panel set up by Ibrahim idris, inspector-general of police (IGP), to probe the rerun election, is biased.

Wike had expressed reservations over the conduct of the panel.

“This latest development undoubtedly, is a confirmation of the fact that the Police committee led by its chairman, Mr. Damain Okoro, that arrived the State yesterday, Wednesday, January 11, 2017, is on a mission of witch-hunt against the state governor and the PDP leadership,” the statement continued.

“Although, the police authorities have actually made no pretense about their biased role in issues surrounding the exercise in the state, with the premature sack of six of their men attached to the governor, and their refusal to question the conduct of Mr. Akin Fakorede during the election, but of much concern is what these activities portend for our democracy and the image of the police and other security forces who swore oath of allegiance of neutrality and to defend, protect and respect the provisions of the constitution of Nigeria, and rights of all citizens, and who are maintained by tax payers’ money, not only those of the APC, but all Nigerians.”

Rivers PDP alleged that the police had become the security arm of the ruling party, and called on Nigerians to resist the “ugly trend”.

“It is unfortunate that the police under the current inspector-general have so abused their constitutional responsibilities and have now turned into a security arm of a political party, the APC,” it said.

“The PDP would have expected the police to be more professional, objective, apolitical, and uphold the tenets of the constitution and regulations as contained in the Electoral Act, relating to the role of security agencies in an election.

“Regrettably, the Police in the case of Rivers State have become a tool of witch-hunt by the federal government and certain Rivers politicians of the APC.

“We call on well-meaning Nigerians to rise against this ugly trend and abuse of responsibility by the Police high command and the All Progressives Congress leadership in trying to silence the opposition by wrongly indicting innocent citizens, the Rivers State government and leaders of the PDP in the state.”

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