- Police arrest 153 thugs from Edo
Okon Bassey in Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Government has raised the alarm over what it described as a desperate bid by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to manipulate Saturday’s governorship election and take over the state by force.
This is coming as the state police command has arrested 153 political thugs imported into the state from Edo State.
In a statement issued Thursday by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh, the state government called on President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on security agencies to bring to book everyone arrested for disrupting the peace of the state.
The state government said it was worried by what it described as a plot by the APC to take over the state by all means during the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections.
Udoh accused the ruling party of declaring war on the peaceful state, noting that the boastful pronouncements of the much vaunted plot to capture Akwa Ibom by force, even if it means spilling human blood and destroying properties was worrisome.
“The pronouncements of war against the state has assumed an unprecedented dimension, especially since the last National Assembly and president elections where the PDP clinched all the National Assembly seats in the state.’’
The state government said the security agencies in the country should work for Nigerians, especially the people of the state by preventing any form of bloodshed in Saturday’s elections.
“We hope the lives of the people will be well protected. We trust that security agencies will ensure that they fulfil their social contract with the people they swore to protect without fear or favour. No election is worth the lives or blood of any human being. We don’t want anything that will disrupt elections in Akwa Ibom as this seems to be the script being acted on in order to capture the state by force.’’
The commissioner confirmed that some armed thugs who claimed to be APC youths from Edo State had been arrested by security agents in the state.
He explained that 11 trucks carrying 153 thugs were recently apprehended by security agencies in the state, adding that they had since made confessional statements.
“It is on record that, since 2015, Akwa Ibom State has witnessed unprecedented peace in all ramifications. This peace has been instrumental to the inflows of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) which have provided jobs and created wealth for the people of the state,’’ he said.
Udoh urged the people of the state “not to bow to any act of harassment and intimidation, but go out to their respective polling units on Saturday and cast their votes with the conviction that no amount of intimidation could subvert their collective resolve to move to newer territories of possibilities and opportunities”.
Meanwhile, ahead of Saturday’s governorship and Houses of Assembly elections, 153 political thugs have been arrested by the Police in the state.
The state Police Commissioner, Ibrahim Sani Kaoje confirmed the arrest of the thugs yesterday at a press conference held at the Police Headquarters, Ikot Akpan-Abia.
Kaoje said the thugs were brought in from Edo State allegedly to participate in youth rally of the APC in the state.
According to him, the thugs were arrested on Tuesday night at Obot Akara Local Government Area (LGA), a border LGA between Akwa Ibom State and Abia State.
He said they were intercepted with manifests bearing names, phone numbers and next-of- kin of the thugs.
The state Commissioner of Police who spoke through the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Odiko Macdon, said the thugs came into the state in eleven buses.
He said the hoodlums were apprehended by IG’s Special Tactical Squad on patrol in Ikot-Ekpene LGA.
The commissioner said they were suspected to be thugs coming into the state for the purposes of disrupting the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections.
“On March 5, 2019, at about 5.30 p.m, IG Special Tactical Squad, Uyo while on Intensive patrol, along Ikot-Ekpene LGA, arrested 153 persons in 11 buses led by one Jerry Edom who were on their way to Uyo, from Edo State.
“They were suspected to be thugs coming into Akwa Ibom State for the purpose of causing havoc during the March 9, 2019 governorship and state House of Assembly elections.
“Preliminary investigation into the matter by the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) reveals that the suspects were APC youths from Edo extraction, who were on their way to the state to attend the final APC youth rally scheduled to hold on 7th March 7, 2019,” he said.