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 FG plans ‘troublemakers’ arrest on election eve

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PostSubject: FG plans ‘troublemakers’ arrest on election eve   2015-03-26, 08:46

There are strong indications that
security agencies may clamp down
on “troublemakers” ahead of
Saturday’s presidential and
National Assembly elections.
The PUNCH learnt in Abuja on
Wednesday that the
“troublemakers” would be arrested
based on intelligence reports on
“persons of interest.”
The names of the “troublemakers”
could not be ascertained as of the
time of filing this report, but
security sources said they might be
arrested on the eve of Saturday’s
One of the sources, who confided in
one of our correspondents, said
armed security personnel would
also be drafted to streets where
the “persons of interest” reside.
He added, “Security agencies are
working hard to ensure a hitch-free
election and one of their strategies
is to arrest those that may want to
foment trouble; already, there is an
intelligence report that some
people may want to sponsor crisis
but this will not be allowed; the
suspects and their sponsors will be
Shortly after the security sources
spoke, the All Progressives
Congress said it was worried about
the plot to arrest some of its
leaders, especially Asiwaju Ahmed
The party said it also learnt there
was a move by the security agents
to restrict the movement of the
Director-General of its campaign
organisation and Rivers State
Governor Rotimi Amaechi.
The APC, through its National
Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed,
however expressed confidence
that Nigerians would resist any
attempt by the ruling Peoples
Democratic Party to use security
agents to harass, intimidate and
arrest opposition figures during the
It said, “Does Asiwaju Ahmed
Tinubu qualify as a troublemaker?
What we are saying is that they
must allow a level playing field and
not resort to arbitrary arrest of
political party leaders to give
undue advantage to the ruling
“We can tell you authoritatively
that we have obtained a court
injunction to restrain the Chief of
Army Staff and his agents from
arresting Tinubu.”
It will be recalled that some APC
governors were prevented by
security agents from entering Ado-
Ekiti a day to the June 21, 2014
election in Ekiti State.
The APC Presidential Campaign
Organisation, Rotimi Amaechi, who
was one of the governors was
reportedly harassed in Odudu,
Ondo State, by armed soldiers as
he tried to enter the state capital
from the Akure Airport.
The chartered plane that took him
to the Akure was detained after
The other governor stopped from
entering Ado-Ekiti was Adams
Oshiomhole of Edo State. A
helicopter that was take him from
Benin to Ado-Ekiti was not granted
permission to take off from the
Benin Airport.
When contacted on the alleged
plot by security agents to clamp
down on “troublemakers,” the
Force Public Relations Officer,
Emmanuel Ojukwu, said anyone
who caused trouble or violence
during and after the polls would be
Ojukwu, who reaffirmed the
readiness of the police to raid all
dark spots, added that people who
refused to obey the electoral law
would be treated as
“troublemakers” and be made to
face the law.
He however explained that no
member of any political party
would be targeted by the police.
Ojukwu added, “We have
intelligence report on those that
may want to disrupt the elections
and we are going to arrest and
detain them all to ensure that the
election holds without any
disruption or hitch.
“Our men have been adequately
briefed and they will carry out their
duties without bias. Our duty is to
ensure hitch-free and non – violent
elections. We are going to arrest
every troublemaker wherever they
may be found. Anyone who does
not obey the electoral law is a
troublemaker and we won’t spare
The Department of State Services
spokesperson, Marilyn Ogar, could
not be reached for comment on the
issue as she did not respond to calls
to her telephone.
The Defence Spokesman, Maj. Gen.
Chris Olukolade, also could not be
reached as of the time of filing this
Sources at the Presidency on
Wednesday told one of our
correspondents that there was no
order by Jonathan to security
agencies to arrest or restrict the
movement of any influential
Nigerian during the elections.
They however said since security
agencies had the responsibility of
ensuring hitch-free elections, they
were free to take steps within the
ambit of the law to forestall a
breakdown of law and order.
One of them said, “Do you think
that the President will call security
chiefs and ask them to arrest or
curtail the movement of Mr. A. or
Chief B during the elections?
“In the same vein, don’t you think it
will be wrong for any security chief
to be waiting for a directive from
the President when he is
confronted with something that
can lead to a breakdown of law and
When contacted, the Special
Adviser to the President on Media
and Publicity, Reuben Abati, said
the present administration
believed in the rule of law and
would not hunt anybody.
Abati said anybody who had not
committed any offence should not
be afraid of arrest.
The presidential spokesman said,
“What everybody has seen is that in
the build-up to this election,
opposition party has been coming
up with a series of lies with the
hope of misleading the public.
“Each time one lie is exposed, they
come up with another one. This
speaks to their desperation, it
speaks to their dishonesty.
“If leaders of the opposition party
have not committed any offence, if
they have not done anything
wrong, they have no reason to be
afraid of being arrested.
“Coming up with all kinds of tales
to mislead the public speaks to
their own dishonesty.
“The Jonathan government truly
believes in the rule of law. It is not
a government that will go and be
haunting people for any reason.
“The President believes in free and
fair elections and he has always
said this. This last minute blackmail
will not help anybody.
“Security agents have the
constitutional responsibility to
make sure that nobody engages in
any act whatsoever that can derail
or disrupt the electoral process.
“There are laws of the land in that
regard. There are institutions that
have the responsibility to make
sure that nobody disrupts the
electoral process.”
Also, the National Publicity
Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh,
ruled out the possibility of
clamping down on politicians.
Metuh told one of our
correspondents on the telephone
that since the Jonathan
administration believes in the rule
of law and credible electoral
process, no security agent would
go out of his way to arrest
He said, “Our party is not under any
pressure. We are confident of
winning the election and since we
are not running a military
government, nobody would order
the arrest of any politician who
does not fall foul of the law.”
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