Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has cautioned the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to desist from deploying soldiers for elections, saying the action is already causing an uncontrolled crime against the Nigerian people..
The National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement Thursday, said that the deployment of soldiers for the 2019 general elections, despite the extant ruling of the Supreme Court against such, was part of the grand plot by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to use the military to suppress opposition, instill fear in the citizenry and forcefully rig the elections.
According to him, “This usurpation of the responsibility of the police and involvement of soldiers in the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections, led to the gruesome killing of over 30 innocent Nigerians in the Niger Delta as well as arbitrary arrest and detention of opposition figures, resulting in escalated insecurity in the region.”
The main opposition party stressed that compromised security agents have been hounding, arresting and detaining PDP figures in the North Central states of Kogi, Benue, Kwara and Plateau states ahead of the March 9 elections.
Ologbondiyan stated: ” Buratai’s outburst on Wednesday, that the Army will be ‘tough’ in its unconstitutional involvement in the conduct of elections, particularly in the Niger Delta, the South East and the North Central, appears to be a license to trigger-happy security agents to re-enact or even scale up their February 23 aggression against PDP figures in the March 9 governorship and State Assembly elections.”
“In Rivers State, PDP leaders are being tracked down, arrested and taken to unknown destinations. The State Commissioner of Education, Dr. Tam Gogo Jaja, who was picked up by soldiers attached to the Director General of the Buhari Campaign Organization and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, is still being held in an unknown facility.
“This is particularly given the fact that Nigerians in all PDP strongholds, spread across our country, are resolute in their resistance of any force that seeks to subvert their will at the March 9 elections.”
The PDP said that following Buratai’s statement on Wednesday, soldiers last night commenced a targeted manhandling and mass arrest of PDP leaders in Delta, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom and Bayelsa states.
The party also lamented that the APC is pitching the military against Nigerians not minding the collateral damage that usually occurs whenever soldiers clash with civilians.