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The Imo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has accused Imo State Governor, Sen. Hope Uzodinma and the Commissioner of Police in the State, CP Muhammed Barde, of working secretly to impoverish Imo citizens ahead of the November 11 governorship election.
According to the PDP, Imo citizens started facing challenging times immediately Hope Uzodinma facilitated the redeployment of Commissioner Barde to the State, who was earlier removed by the Inspector General of Police as Commissioner.
The party made this allegation on Wednesday, in a World Press Conference which was monitored by The Eastern Updates.
Briefing Journalists, Acting State Publicity Secretary of the Party, Mazi Emenike Nmeregini, said, ‘The State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party vehemently objects to the incessant harassment, intimidation, illegal arrest and detention of party members, media practitioners working for PDP and attempt to abduct or arrest some Directors of Media and other Directorates of our Campaign Council by operatives of the Nigeria Police in the State allegedly loyal to Governor Hope Uzodinma.
‘These acts of intimidation and incarceration of the people at the least provocation have become daily experience, aimed at cowing Imo people, particularly members of the press and opposition PDP, for purely political reasons.’
He continued, ‘A couple of months back, some state officers of the party were invited to the State Police Command for interrogations over alleged libellous statements by the party. That matter has unduly been protracted without end, even when it is quite clear that it is diversionary and has no substance. Penultimate week, in a Gestapo style, officers of the Nigeria Police invaded the residence of some of our party members and arrested one Mark Chisom, while others, who were on duty at the time of the police invasion, evaded arrest.
‘Our party vehemently condemns this resort to use of State apparatus of power for harassment, intimidation, illegal arrest and detention of innocent citizens, in direct violation of their constitutionally guaranteed rights to personal liberty and freedom of expression. This clampdown, which we perceive as a reaction to derail our governorship campaigns of “Making Imo Safe Again” by State security operatives working under the dictates of the ruling APC administration under Uzodinma’s watch, will not be tolerated any longer.
‘The party notes that such action on innocent Imolites is totally a direct assault on our democratic order, and hereby demand the unconditional release of Chisom Mark and to discontinue further acts of scheduled arrest of PDP members or Directors already in Uzodimma and CP Berde’s list. Our party resolves that if Chisom Mark’s ‘offence’ is such that cannot be handled by the police, the matter should be prosecuted in a court of law rather than continue to keep him in the police cell.
‘We hereby appeal to the Inspector General of Police and other service Chiefs not to keep deaf ears to the precarious situation in Imo State, particularly at this period of the governorship election where Hope Uzodinma and CP Berde are working hand in hand to impoverish Imo people. The press and citizens of the State deserve adequate protection as they exercise their legitimate rights of expression and association within the ambit of the law.’
Meanwhile, the party has rejected in its totality the reversal of victory of Hons Ikenga Ugochinyere and Jonas Okeke, members for Ideato North/South and Okigwe South respectively.
The party, therefore, expressed confidence that in pursuit of justice and fair play, the controversial judgements against its members would be reclaimed on Appeal.
Briefing Newsmen also, PDP Legal Adviser in the State, Barr Kissinger Ikeokwu, while citing the ruling of the Supreme Court in a party internal affairs, said, “A political party that files a suit to challenge the nomination of the candidate of another party will be a nosy busybody, a meddlesome interloper, peeping into the affairs of his neighbour without any backing in law. No court of law can entertain such a suit.”
Barr Ikeokwu, therefore, wondered why the Election Petition Tribunal would venture into an internal party issue that borders on pre-election after the Apex court had dismissed such a similar case previously.