- Senate orders investigation
Deji Elumoye, Adedayo Akinwale and Mercy Apollos in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) of causing mayhem in Akwa Ibom State in order to take control of the state by force.
The accusation by the main opposition party is coming as the Senate Wednesday ordered a thorough investigation into the alleged invasion of the state House of Assembly by officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in the early hours of the day.
PDP said Nigerians were all witnesses to volatile outbursts by the Buhari Campaign Organisation and APC leaders and their use of violent images and outright threats of war on Akwa Ibom State.
Its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, while addressing a press conference wednesday in Abuja, stated, “The PDP has invited you to intimate you and the nation of a looming danger, imminent violence and breakdown of law and order in Akwa Ibom State as well as other littoral states, following attempts by President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC to forcefully take over control of these states.
“Part of the plot is the forceful attempt to take over control of the Akwa Ibom State legislature, for which the presidency and the APC have been sponsoring the invasion of the House of Assembly complex and seeking ways to violently oust the duly elected leadership of the state assembly.”
Ologbondiyan recalled the outburst by the former governor of the state, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who vowed that the APC would take over the state the same way Hitler overran Poland, swearing, “War shall see Warsaw and Warsaw shall see war” in the state.
He said, “Given that this statement is the policy of the APC and the Buhari presidency against Akwa Ibom and other parts of our country, where they are not in control, the president, as chief security officer of our country, never issued a reprimand nor has Senator Akpabio been pulled in for questioning by security agencies.”
The party said recently, the National Chairman of the APC, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, who has been under fire over allegations of corruption, threatened and directly accused the erstwhile Akwa Ibom Commissioner of Police, Mr. John Abang, of refusing to carry out APC’s orders to provide security cover that would enable three legally sacked members of the 26-member legislature to effect a change of leadership.
Ologbondiyan added, “The PDP has information of how the APC hierarchy thereafter, ordered the Inspector General of Police, who in compliance, summarily redeployed Abang and replaced him with Mr. Hyelasinda Musa Kimo.
He added that it was needless to say that Abang spent just one month as police commissioner and had to be removed for not carrying out APC’s directive.
Ologbondiyan noted, “Since the arrival of Kimo, there has been mounting tension and escalated siege mentality in Akwa Ibom State, particularly in the state legislature where thugs, backed by the police, have been invading the premises, disrupting legislative activities, harassing staff members and hindering them from performing their responsibilities.”
He said their plot was to forcibly take over the state or any other PDP-controlled state, warning that this would be firmly resisted by the people of those states and could lead to a crisis of unprecedented magnitude that has the capacity of truncating democracy in the country.
The party stated that Buhari and the APC should be ready to take full responsibility for any breakdown of law and order as direct consequences of the people’s resistance to their plot to forcefully take over control of Akwa Ibom or any of the PDP-controlled states.
On his part, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP in the state, Mr. Ini Ememobong, said the premeditated plan, which was unfolding in phases was aimed at ensuring that the security situation in the state portrayed the governor as being overwhelmed because of his gentlemanly disposition to issues of state and governance.
When that happens, he said, it would attract seemingly the attention of the federal government to come in aid of APC members, who are absolutely unable to win any election on the ground.
According to him, “The end point of that plan is to ensure that on the day of election, Akwa Ibom State as well as other states controlled by the PDP will be selected as flash points and kept for a separate day. Either as will be announced by the INEC or on the day of the first general ballot, that they will make it impossible for elections to hold there, so that the Ekiti example and Ekiti style of election can be brought, where 30,000 policemen can be brought from other parts of the country there.”
Senate Orders Investigation into Invasion of State Assembly
Meanwhile, the Senate wednesday ordered a thorough investigation into the alleged invasion of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
Its Committee on Police headed by Senator Tijani Kaura (Zamfara North) has, therefore, been given a 48-hour ultimatum to urgently look into the reported police seal up of the assembly and report back to the Senate.
This is sequel to a motion moved by Senator Albert Akpan (PDP-Akwa Ibom North-East) on the development through Order 43 of the Senate standing rules, alleging that the police action was meant to pave the way for the removal of Governor Udom Emmanuel from office.
Akpan informed his colleagues that over 1,500 policemen invaded the premises of the House of Assembly in the early hours of Wednesday and sealed it, thereby preventing the lawmakers from carrying out their legislative duties.
According to him, reason for the police’s action is still unclear, but warned that security agencies should not involve themselves in partisan politics.
He, therefore, urged the upper legislative chamber to direct the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to order his men out of the assembly complex so that the state lawmakers could have access to their offices and the chamber and discharge their legislative functions.
Contributing, Senator Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central) described the sealing of the assembly as “a breach of principle of democracy, clearly ambiguous and an aberration, which should not be supported by any senator because of politics”.
He urged the Senate to take a strong position on the police action so as to send a serious signal to the security agencies against interference in legislative functions.
Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, therefore, directed the Committee on Police Affairs to investigate the alleged sealing of the assembly complex by the police in order to ascertain the reason for their action.
He said, “What is wrong is wrong. It’s wrong for a parliament to be sealed by security agents. We should not be partisan about it, but it’s necessary we allow the Committee on Police Affairs to investigate it because it’s still an allegation by a member, which should be investigated.”
He, therefore, mandated the Police Committee to thoroughly investigate the allegation and report back to plenary within 48 hours “after which the Senate can now take action.”
Akpan told journalists after plenary that five out of 26 lawmakers in Akwa Ibom state, who claimed to have sacked the assembly leadership, are trying to remove the governor by causing trouble through the police invasion in the state.
According to him, “There were no cases of armed robbery, kidnappings and criminal activities in the state until the defection of my leader, Senator Akpabio from PDP.”
The lawmaker said he had informed the Senate on the alleged orchestrated plan by the APC to disrupt peace of the state ahead of next year’s general elections.