Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State has said the federal government would seek justice for victims of the violence that greeted last weekend’s presidential and National Assembly elections in parts of the state.
The party also said it plans to sue Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, and others for libel for accusing chieftains of the party of being responsible for the violence at Abonnema, headquarters of Akuku Toru Local Government Area (LGA) of the state, which claimed several lives, including that of a soldier.
Addressing a press conference in Port Harcourt yesterday, Co-ordinator of APC Presidential Campaign Council in Rivers State and governorship aspirant of the party in the state, Tonye Cole, said the party was saddened by the violence and attendant death that happened in parts of the state, especially in Abonnema, his hometown and that of other chieftains of the party.
While he expressed the party’s condolences to the families of those killed during the election in the state, he said one death was already too many in the state.
Cole said: “Over the past few days, Rivers State has once again been in the headlines globally for all the wrong reasons. In a nationwide election that sought to elect a President for the Federal Republic of Nigeria and members of the National Assembly, our dear state was characterised with armed conflict, which unfortunately led to the death of innocent Nigerians that had simply sought to exercise their civic duty of participating in an electoral process.
“At this juncture allow me to express my most profound and sincere condolences to the families who lost loved ones last weekend. In particular, we reach out to the family of Miss Ibisaki Amachree who was shot while on duty.
“One death is one too many and no one has the right to kill in the name of power and politics. May the souls of all those who died this weekend rest in peace and the families be rest assured that the federal government will seek justice for them, no matter how long it takes.”
He said the party is currently seeking advice from its lawyers to know whether to file a libel suit against those who accused some chieftains of the party who are from Akuku-Toru LGA, of being behind the violence that occurred at Abonnema, headquarters of the local government area.
The APC governorship candidate said: “It has been my personal plea and mantra as well as that of the APC that the violence meted out on our members and citizens of the state in 2015 and immediately thereafter has no place in any modern society, especially one that desperately needs to grow economically and develop for the betterment of her people.
“We have called for peace and peaceful elections at every stage, but it is unfortunate that there are people hell-bent to cling on to power at any cost, even to the taking of human lives.
“I have been shocked and saddened by statements and comments attributed to the Rivers State governor that Prof. Charles Dokubo-Quakers; Prince Tonye Princewill and I are responsible for the carnage and deaths in Abonnema last weekend.
“These malicious and unfounded allegations are being investigated and our lawyers will advise on possible libel suits to take against those who have peddled these wicked falsehoods.”
Cole stated that the result of the just concluded Presidential elections is an indication of a new beginning and trajectory with respect to elections in Rivers State, pointing that days of using political thugs to hijack electoral materials were over.