Why Rivers violence persists – Senator Abe

Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the Rivers South East Senatorial District re-run election, has blamed the law enforcement system in Nigeria for condoning the impunity that happened before, during and after the 19 March rerun polls in Rivers state.
Speaking during a live television programme monitored in Port Harcourt, Abe said that if our law enforcement agencies were decisive and proactive, they would have stemmed the ugly incidents that occurred in the state.

He said before the elections, Governor Nyesom Wike was inciting his supporters to kill and maim INEC officials who dared to announce results that were in favour of APC.
“You heard the governor himself when he started saying before the rerun elections that anybody who is coming to Rivers State to conduct election should write his will; anybody who is coming to Rivers State to do anything should go and show his children where his property is.”
Speaking further, Abe said even when evidence exists of the existence of armed groups with sophisticated weapons, allegedly sponsored by the governor, there was no serious efforts to investigate, clampdown and prosecute the violators of the law.
This, he said, encouraged and emboldened them to unleash violence, which led to the death of many persons including a youth corps member.
“How can we pretend as a country that we did not see these things and did not hear them? When President Buhari came to launch his campaign in Port Harcourt, people who were on their way to that campaign were shot at. People came with AK 47 and opened fire on them and they were taken to the hospital, the President himself went to the hospital and visited them. Where are those people? Have they been arrested? Have they been questioned? How come some people are above the law? In the last elections, there were people arrested in fake army uniform; there were people arrested with all sorts of things. Where are they? What is happening to them? My office was burnt, the people who burnt the office are known. How can we pretend we do not know what is causing the violence?”
Abe, who was formerly Secretary to Rivers State Government, stated that if the perpetrators were aware that the law enforcement agents would bring them to book, they would have been deterred from engaging in their nefarious activities.
Abe queried how the state Governor got the names of INEC adhoc staff for the rerun polls and wondered why up till now the commission had not investigated who made the lists available to him.
“It got to a point where the Governor himself carried the list of INEC staff. This is something that we have never had access to. In the last elections up until the day of election in 2015, when we went to the INEC office to protest, the federal commissioner told me that INEC does not release the list of their staff for security reasons but that was the list that Governor Nyesom Wike was holding on National television and reading out their names and addresses.”
Abe maintained that if the law enforcement agencies do the right thing, cases of electoral violence and malpractice would be reduced to the barest minimum, adding that persons entrusted with responsibilities should not fail to do the needful.



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