Controversies trail parade of APC members for electoral offences Nimot Sulaimon – 1 hour ago


Suspects paraded for committing alleged electoral offences in Ogoja, Cross River State for  alleged electoral offences: Some of the dispute police claim, say they are APC members

By Ehigimetor Igbaugba

The parade of 16 suspects allegedly arrested for various alleged electoral offences during the last presidential and national assembly elections in Cross Rivers State has ended in controversy.

Police said the 16 suspects were arrested in Ogoja Local Government Area of the state for various electoral offences.

Spokesperson for the state Police Command spokesperson, SP Irene Ugbo, who addressed newsmen while parading the suspects, said the they were caught with arms and ammunition during in Ogoja town after the polls.

Ugbo stated that their arrest followed a diligent manhunt for those that disrupted some voting centres in the council area during the polls.

“You will recall that the command had issued out several warnings to the people not to allow themselves be used by desperate politicians during the elections and that anyone caught will have himself to blame.

“These people you see here didn’t take our warning seriously and they are some of the people that tried to disrupt the elections in Ogoja last Saturday.

“They were caught with various arms and ammunition in Ogoja and they will be punished in accordance with the law of the land,” she stated.

The command spokesperson alleged that the suspects were found to have worked for a candidate during last Saturday’s elections.

Ugbo said that the suspects would be arraigned in court next week.

But some of the suspects promptly denied claim of the police spokesperson, insisting that they were members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and also vigilante in their community in Obudu Local Government Area.

They also stated that they were never arrested in Ogoja but in Obudu without knowledge of the offence they committed.

One of the suspects, Mr Francis Ubi who claimed to be a coordinator of the APC in his polling unit in Obudu, explained how they were randomly picked by the soldiers in Obudu a day before the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

According to him, “We were brought here on trump up charges. I do not belong to any group or political party other than the APC where I coordinate for my polling unit in Obudu.

“As I speak with you, over N500,000 was paid into my account to coordinate my unit during the elections and I am also a member of the vigilante. I have five others of my members here who were also arrested.

“While I was arrested in my house in Obudu, others were arrested at a check points in Obudu while on duty.

“Where they were arrested was approved for us to be keeping security by the council chairman who also approved the use of specific guns for us.

“I don’t understand what is happening. Those that are being paraded with us I don’t know any of them and only came to meet them here as we are being paraded.

“We (Vigilante) have been the one keeping Obudu safe because of the level of insecurity there in recent time. We don’t understand what we are being accused of.”

Ubi said that after his arrest, he was taken to army barracks at Ogoja where he spent days before they were brought to Police Command in Calabar on Friday.


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