By Mercy Obot
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, raised a fresh alarm on an alleged plot by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to frame up, arrest and incarcerate its key leaders in Akwa Ibom State in order to keep them away from circulation throughout the period of 2019 general election.
Paul Ekpo, chairman of the Akwa Ibom PDP, disclosed at a press conference that his party had received reports that on Monday (today) or on any other day during APC organized rallies, buses branded as PDP busses or vehicles bearing state government number plates would be loaded with arms and occupied by “criminals” heading to the venue of any APC rally.
According to Ekpo in his statement titled “The evil frame up that must fail”, the buses and their occupants are arranged to be arrested on approaching an APC rally and the contents of the buses displayed as a major security breakthrough.
After their arrest, Ekpo said the criminals would then mention names of some PDP leaders as their sponsors thereby necessitating their arrest and subsequent arraignment and prosecution under the anti-terrorism Act.
He noted that PDP leaders who are currently being targeted for arrest by the opposition APC in the state are innocent Nigerians with proven integrity and who do not engage in arms stockpiling or procurement of violence of any kind.
Ekpo said: “this plot which is hatched and sponsored by the opposition APC is aimed at arresting and incarcerating our key leaders and keeping them away from circulation throughout the election.
“This is to say the least very crude, anachronistic and an antediluvian signalling APC’s defeat at the approaching polls.
“It is therefore very unfortunate that people who should be planning for elections are rather hatching evil plans on how to arrest people.
“It is evident even from the peaceful way we conducted our primaries that we are very peaceful people. Pre and post primaries, there wasnt a single gunshot or death unlike the APC, where scores of people were reported dead in different parts of the state.
“In Okobo local government area, an entire police station was razed by supporters of an APC aspirant who felt shortchanged during their primaries.”
Ekpo said the leadership of the PDP, in the past few weeks, have been inundated with calls from different parts of the state where PDP supporters are wantonly arrested and incarcerated without any lawful justification.
He mentioned a case in Essien Udim local government area where scores of PDP youths and elders were arrested on trumped-up charges of defacing or destroying posters belonging to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ekpo said some PDP supporters in Nsit Atai local government area were slammed with grave charges in order to cause the court to deny them bail.
In Nsit Ibom, he said a PDP supporter was stabbed by a member of the opposition in front of the Divisional Police Officer there and till date the assailant has not been arrested.
He said in Ikot Abasi, PDP supporters who refused to support their brothers were mercilessly beaten and harassed even as press men sympathetic to the PDP cause have been harassed and intimidated.
Ekpo said: “We have not and will not send anybody to attempt to disrupt rallies or meetings of any other political party.
“We call on security agencies to note this intelligence and act swiftly. Recall that we had, during the House of Assembly imbroglio, notified the public of an impending attack on the Assembly.
“We have been victims of the wanton destruction of our publicity materials. Our billboards and other campaign materials have been maliciously destroyed and in reaction, we wrote to the police seeking their intervention.
“Up till now, we have not been informed of any warning, apprehension or arrest on the subject matter, rather we are witnessing arrest of PDP supporters for the destruction of non-existing billboards of the opposition.
“Most of those in the opposition today were previously in government and are still in possession of government vehicles with number plates which can be used for nefarious activities.”
Ekpo urged PDP supporters not to be afraid of the current situation, but should rather be conscious of the fact that they serve a living God who is able to fight for them.