From Chuks Moses, Awka
Police have waded into the alleged illegal arrest, abduction, brutalization and humiliation of some Social Democratic Party (SDP) members by thugs allegedly hired by the All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA).
The SDP men were rounded up by the thugs for displaying and putting the posters of their candidate side by side that of a National Assembly candidate of APGA.
The ugly scenario is coming barely three weeks after a House of Representatives candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA) and chieftain of the party in Anambra state attacked and abducted a journalist from his Enugu home.
Narrating the ugly experience, an SDP chieftain, Mr Cheta Okafor, in a media briefing at Awka, noted that a team of six (6) Social Democratic Party (SDP) members who were pasting posters at Nnobi late evening on Dec 28,2018 at about 10 p.m. were accosted by thugs numbering 25 who arrived the scene in a convoy of vehicles.
The thugs were allegedly wielding all manner of dangerous weapons; and in a commando fashion, seized and brutalized the rattled SDP members.
Thinking it was an armed robberry attack, some ran into the bush, while three were abducted, brutalized, injured and their SDP branded vehicle was commandeered with bundles of posters and other personal and party items.
According to one of the victims, Mr Paul Onwughalu, they were mercilessly beaten up and ordered into the van or ‘we set it ablaze’.
“We were taken to the home of … candidate for the Idemili Federal constituency, who ordered another round of beating and flogging with water hoses.
“He actually blamed the thugs for not setting us ablaze with our party vehicle. But said he will teach us and our leaders, whose posters were used to challenge him, a lesson. He said he wanted the message to be clear that they should never challenge his political aspiration again…”, Mr Onwughalu stated.
Onwughalu said they had been to hospital for treatment and general assessment from the trauma and brutality.
Another victim, Mr Friday Itam, said the hoodlums came in seven vehicles and surrounded them. “They seized, beat and kicked us around on the ground. They humiliated us, pouring dirty water on us and forced us at gunpoint to roll in it while they flogged us mercilessly”, he said.
When contacted, the state police command’s Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Haruna Mohammed confirmed that the matter was already under investigation. He appealed for peace, urging every stakeholder to remain law abiding.
The State’s Publicity Secretary of APGA, Chief Chinedu Nkwonta described the party’s candidate as a refined democrat who cannot be associated with anything untoward. “The event is unheard of about our candidate. We will conduct deep investigation, because APGA is not known for violence. In fact we have consistently appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to set up mechanisms to discourage election violence in our polity.
Chief Godson Igwe, a member of the All Progressives Congress in the state called on Gov Willie Obiano to call his party men to order as they appear to believe erroneously that it’s only APGA that should exist in Anambra.
Chief Chukwuelue in his reaction disclosed he would explore the courts to seek redress, insisting that his men who had been conscientiously working for the party could not be so maligned.
Uche Annie-Okonkwo described the event as “unacceptable for any candidate to kidnap, abduct or brutalize persons who profess contrary political beliefs. It must be condemned by all and has to stop”
He saw the incident as “morbid fear of SDP as a big embarrassment and let-down to the political aspiration of the alleged sponsors and the state governor.” He added, “if anyone who is approaching the people for their votes can do this, what will be their attitude when such gets to the National Assembly.”
A journalist – Mr. Chigozie was few weeks ago abducted from his home in Enugu by four heavily armed securitymen and some thugs who allegedly drove from Aguleri, the countryhome of an APGA chieftain.
He was allegedly beaten for days before being allegedly moved him to a nearby police station.