PDP, APC Trade Words Over Arrest of 21 INEC Staffs In Rivers

Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its All Progressives
Congress, APC, counterpart in Rivers State, yesterday, traded words over
purported arrest of 21 Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, adhoc
staff who served in the last re-run elections.

State Chairman of the party, Mr Felix Obuah, who spoke
through his media aide, Mr Jerry Needam, alleged that those arrested were first
detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, before they were
moved to Abuja to confess that they were bribed by Governor Nyesom Wike during
the re-run elections.
On its part, APC, through its spokesman, Mr Chris Finebone,
said the PDP was panicking because the staff could spill the beans on the rerun
elections, saying it might have confirmed suspicion of the APC that the PDP
smuggled some of its members into the INEC list as adhoc staff.
This came as the state Police command, declined comment on
the issue, saying since the PDP said the matter was in Abuja, the Force Public
Relation Officer, FPRO, was in a better position to speak on it.
Spokesman of the state’s Police command, DSP Nnamdi Omoni,
who spoke to Vanguard said since the party alleged that the matter was in Abuja
then it was beyond his powers to comment. “The IGP’s spokesman is the one to
speak,” he said.
Similarly, INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in
the state, Elder Aniedi Ikoiwak, told newsmen that he was not aware that some
adhoc staff of the commission were in the custody of security agencies.
The PDP, however, in its statement, claimed a source hinted
that more arrests would be made and those allegedly in the custody of security
operatives in Abuja would be paraded before the media by the Police. The party
said: “Regrettably, the Police in the Rivers State have become a tool of witch-hunt
by the Federal Government and certain Rivers politicians of the APC.
We call on well-meaning Nigerians to rise against this ugly
trend and abuse of responsibility by the Police high command and the APC
leadership in trying to silence the opposition by wrongly indicting innocent
citizens, the Rivers State government and leaders of the PDP in the state.” But
APC said: “We do not see why the PDP should be too worried that ad-hoc staff of
INEC or indeed anybody, is invited by the Police to assist them on any
How that becomes a source of worry for the PDP is baffling
to us. Could it be a confirmation of our long-held suspicion that PDP smuggled
their members into the INEC ad-hoc staff list to do their bidding? Or could the
investigation of the ad-hoc staff possibly lead to the unravelling of possible
extent and dimensions of compromise of INEC officials by Governor Nyesom Wike
and the PDP hence the apprehension and false alarm?.”

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