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Less than 24 hours to polls, Police arrest PDP chieftains in Kebbi, Kwara

The Police have arrested chieftains of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Kebbi and Kwara state.

A chieftain of the PDP in Kebbi State, Chief Emeka Okafor was arrested by security operatives and whisked to Abuja.

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The candidate of the PDP for the Kwara South senatorial district, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, was also arrested by the state police command over alleged involvement in political clash.

The Public Relations Officer of the Police Command in Kebbi tate, DSP Nafiu Muhammed confirmed the arrest of Chief Okafor.

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He said the PDP chieftain was arrested over vote buying and was moved to Abuja for further investigation.

The state chairman of the PDP,  Alhaji  Saidu Haruna during a press briefing told journalists that Chief Okafor was arrested because he refused to leave the PDP.

“Over the months, he has been under serious pressure and intimidation to leave the PDP but he refused. He is a philanthropist and a man of the people. We condemn his arrest few hours to the elections,” he said.

He added that the leaders of the party had gone to the police station to enquire about his offence and whereabout.

“The Police told us that he was arrested because people were gathered at his residence,” he said.

The PDP chairman stated that the party has instructed its lawyer to take up the matter and has petitioned the police on Chief Okafor’s  arrest.

“You will recalled that at the last Peace Accord Meeting, we raised alarm over the intimidation we are facing,” he said

Meanwhile, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) in Kwara state has condemned the arrest of Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, describing it as unlawful and clampdown on opposition figures in the state by the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government in connivance with security agencies.

Speaking with journalists in Ilorin on Friday, the chairman of the CNPP in the state, Alhaji Adebayo Lawal, said that the arrest was part of alleged plot to scuttle the electoral process in Kwara state and subvert the will of the people.

“Barely 24 hours to the Saturday’s presidential and national assembly elections, officers of the Nigerian Police Force, who were visibly acting on the orders of the presidency, forcefully arrested and detained Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, the senator representing Kwara South senatorial district, and the candidate of the PDP for the election. Up till this moment, Senator Rafiu, who is a major contender for Kwara South senatorial district election like our other candidates, is yet to be released.

Similarly, in the past few days, more than 20 members of different opposition parties in the State have been indiscriminately arrested by security agencies and taken to unknown destinations up to the time of making this release. This is a repeat of what happened during last year’s bye-election in Irepodun/Oke-Ero/Isin/Ekiti Federal Constituency, where top members of the PDP and opposition Parties were unlawfully arrested on the eve of the election.

“It is unfortunate that a serving lawmaker who is loved by his people for his sterling performance in the Senate can be subjected to this kind of inhumane treatment on the unsubstantiated accusation from the APC. If the peace-loving Senator Rafiu Ibrahim is clamped upon in this manner, our other Candidates are also prone to such flagrant abuse of power. There is no feasible evidence to show that the detained Senator had any connection with the Tuesday’s political attack in Ojoku, which happens to be his hometown. We are not saying the Security Agents should not do their jobs, but to chose the eve of the general elections to detain a strong contender is portraying the Security Agencies as being partisan to the clear advantage of the Candidate of the APC.  To assume that the lawmaker could have engineered violence against his own town and people is in the least untenable. Attempts to link him to the fracas are political and unfortunate.

“Few weeks ago, when we raised the alarm over the planned crackdown on members of opposition parties in Kwara by the APC-led FG, some cohorts of the APC dismissed it as a false alarm. But we have been vindicated now as we all are now witnesses to what is going on in the State right now. We condemn the use of state security by the APC to harass and intimidate innocent opposition members all in the name of politics and desperate bid to scheme out other candidates in favour of the Candidates of the APC. This is a shameful display of state power.

“We invite members of the fourth estate of the realm, local and international observers, civil society groups, well-meaning Nigerians and all lovers of democracy to rise in condemnation of this unlawful detention of Senator Rafiu Ibrahim and other opposition members and also demand for their immediate release.  We all have a duty to protect democracy and save the sanctity of our electoral process.

“We equally want to place on record that we are seriously concerned about the obvious partisanship of the security operatives now in Kwara for the elections. It is highly unfortunate that security men who are meant to be non-partisan as had been in the past here have now decided to take sides against opposition parties and do the bidding of the party in power. This is bad for our democracy. That is why we are disappointed and are of the conviction that the elections in Kwara will not be free, fair and credible”.

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