Posted by News Express | 5 February 2019 | 1,260 times
The leadership and loyalists of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State on Monday staged a protest against killing of its members during its rallies ahead of the 2019 polls.
Leader of APC in the state, Chief Timipre Sylva, and Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, led the protest to Police Headquarters in Yenagoa the state capital.
Addressing thousands of party faithful who had marched from the party secretariat to the Police headquarters chanting solidarity songs, Sylva said that the killing of an APC member at a rally in Sagbama was one too many.
He recalled that the party campaigns have been riddled with several attacks by members of rival political parties while the perpetrators have not been brought to book.
“We have been watching the scenario where members of our party are being attacked while we are canvassing for votes. Two of them were killed recently in Nembe and we reported the incident but the Police is not doing enough.
“We are here to send a strong message to the Police High Command (in the state) and the Inspector-General of Police that the persecution and killing of our members in Bayelsa is not acceptable.
“On Saturday, one of our members who was attacked during a rally in Sagbama died, and we are here today to register our displeasure and demand that just as the Police is providing security for those in PDP (the Peoples Democratic Party), they should protect us also.
“We demand that the Police should be fair in their duties to avoid a situation where those who are denied security would be compelled to seek self help,” Sylva said.
Also speaking, Lokpobiri urged the Police to be thorough in its investigations of the cases reported by the party as their members are awaiting justice.
He said that APC in Bayelsa was conducting its campaign across the party in a peaceful manner but have come under attack by rival political parties resulting to the death of many.
He said that as a law abiding organization, the party leaders have been urging members to exercise restraints and report issues of violence to law enforcement agencies.
Responding, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Aminu Saleh dismissed the allegations that the Police in the State was biased.
“The Nigerian Police is a Federal institution and the Command under my watch in Bayelsa State is poised to be fair to all in the discharge of our duty, I am aware of the allegations and counter allegations even before my deployment.
“We shall look into the cases even the ones reported before my arrival. The problem we have is that while a case is being investigated it is not strategic to keep in public domain, but it does not mean that we are not working.
“On the Saturday killing, we are already working on it and arrests have been made and I hereby assure you that once we conclude our investigations, we shall brief the general public about it.
“It is our duty to provide security cover to all political parties and the presence of our men deployed to Sagbama prevented the breakdown of law and order,” Saleh said.
One person, according to Police spokesman, DSP Asinim Butswat, died and two others were injured while thugs attacked members of the APC at a rally in Sagbama area of Bayelsa on Saturday.
Butswat had said in a statement on Sunday that “one suspect, Mr Isaac Abrowei, 42, from Bolou-Orua, but resident at Tungbabiri has been arrested.
“The thugs who mastermind the act and their alleged sponsor have been identified and the Police has launched a manhunt to arrest them.”
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