• Describes letter to House Speaker as admittance of guilt
Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State has condemned the refusal of former Chairman of Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Magnus Abe, to attend a public hearing on killings in his native Ogoniland allegedly carried out by the military ahead of the last rerun elections in the state.
The party said Abe’s refusal to attend was an admittance of guilt of complicity in the “invasion” of Ogoni communities by soldiers and the resultant killings.
Abe had accused the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, of furthering an agenda of the PDP through a committee hearing investigating the circumstances that led to the killing of 34 persons in February 2016, in the state.
He therefore disclosed his intention not to honour the invitation of the House Committee on Army, which continued last Monday.
He accused Dogara of working in the interest of the PDP instead of his All Progressives Congress (APC).
But reacting to Abe’s allegations, the Chairman of the PDP in Rivers State, Felix Obuah, said Abe was afraid to face the public because of fears that his involvement in the killings would be exposed.
In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Jerry Needam, Obuah commended that House for investigating the killings as part of its oversight functions through its committee on the armed forces.
He noted that the preliminary findings of the committee necessitated the public hearing.
His words: “The shocking findings have nonetheless compelled the House of Representatives to consider organising a public hearing on the issue.”
Invited to the public hearing are major characters in the incident, who are also the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the forthcoming Legislative re-run elections in Rivers State.
They are Messrs Magnus Abe and Barinaadaa Mpigi for Rivers South-East senatorial district and Oyigbo-Eleme-Tai Federal Constituency respectively.
While the controversy over who gave the unconstitutional order to the Nigerian Army for the slaughter of the hapless Ogoni people still subsists, the House of Representatives according to the law and in strict adherence to its oversight function may have for the sake of justice and posterity decided to ensure that all facts of the incident and those behind it are unmasked as a way of ensuring an end to such inhuman senseless killing of law abiding Nigerians.”
He expressed disappointment that Abe and Mpigi did not seize the opportunity to ensure that the killers of their people would be exposed.
“But rather than receive and embrace such invitation with honour and joy that at last the evil against his own kin and kith (the Ogoni people) he is opting to represent in the National Assembly at any cost, is now on the front burner of public discourse, Mr. Magnus Abe is angry, agitated and offended, and is threatening fire and brimstone,” he lamented.
He also said: “Rather than appreciate the House of Representatives for initiating the public hearing, Magnus Abe has unwittingly taken on the Honourable Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, alleging all manner of evil deeds against his person and office simply because the public hearing is expected to expose the facts and offer the majority of Nigerians the opportunity to hear and see how he, Magnus Abe manipulated soldiers of the Nigerian Army with the obvious backing of his collaborators to kill and maim his own people just to stop them from voting in an election he was sure to lose.
“‘Let the people be lost rather than lose the election,” remains his philosophy. Very interesting and worthy of note, is the description of the killing of Ogoni people as a political narrative which the National Assembly is providing the visual images.”
Describing Abe’s stance as an “abominable desperation”, Obuah noted, “To him, to find out who and why the soldiers slaughtered his own people is to do the wrong thing and more provocative to Mr. Abe, the Speaker who is championing this cause happens to be his fellow APC member. He prefers that the evil be swept under the carpet as usual.”
Mr. Abe’s words: “Painfully, hundreds of Nigerians are being murdered every day…………….with no comment by the House or Speaker. Yet committees of the House of Representatives at your instance are always in Rivers State to do the bidding of the PDP”.
He said the PDP has been vindicated “that someone somewhere is sacrificing the precious blood of the Ogoni men and women, youths and children on the altar of politics for political power at all cost.”
He emphasised: “The Rivers State chapter of PDP hereby in very strong terms condemns the refusal of Abe and Mpigi to attend the House of Representatives Public Hearing on the action of the soldiers apparently, accepting responsibility for the army invasion of Ogoni communities, which led to the death of innocent Ogoni sons and daughters, including pregnant women and some non-indigenes doing business in Bori, the traditional headquarters of Ogoni people.
“They may have been overwhelmed by the volume of incriminating evidences against them, as may be presented at the House of Representatives public hearing.
“The PDP is therefore vindicated in its position that Abe and Mpigi were responsible for instigating the soldiers to kill their fellow Ogoni people just to advance their political interests.”