The Edo State Chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised the alarm over suspicious movement of persons from Lagos and other parts of the country into the state. This is just as the major opponent of the ruling party in the state, the All Progressives Congress, APC also accused the PDP of stock-pile of arms and infiltration of thugs into the state ahead of next Saturday’s governorship election.
In a statement on Saturday, the State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chris Osa Nehikhare, who spoke on behalf of the party’s Campaign Council, said: “We have just been alerted that ten hummer buses left Ojo Military Cantonment in Lagos for Auchi, Edo State this morning. This is one out of over ten such calls we have received in the last 48 hours”.
According to Nehikhare, “We are liaising with the relevant security agencies to ascertain the mission(s) of these persons flocking to the state and we advise members of the public to watch out for persons whose presence and activities in their neighborhood, are suspicious, and report same to the police and other law enforcement agencies”.
The PDP publicity scribe urged the various security agencies in the country “to pay more than the usual attention to these movements in order to ensure that Edo voters are insulated from harm, before, during and after the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state.”
And also crying out to the federal government and people of Edo State, the APC accused the governor, Godwin Obaseki of fostering insecurity in Edo State, and urged that he be reined in.
In a statement on Saturday by the Chairman of Edo APC Media Campaign Council, John Mayaki, the party accused the governor of several security breaches in the state in the build-up to next Saturday’s poll. Mayaki said, “We want Mr. Obaseki to give Nigerians the assurance that Edo State will not degenerate into a full blown crisis-riddled polity by answering to the following reports that we have received concerning the elections. Youths in Edo have informed us of the mass concentration of arms currently stored all over the state for the elections.
“We also have reports of mass infiltration of thugs and PDP militants who have been lodged in hotels within the state and border towns. Fake personnel in security uniforms have also been spotted all over Edo State, some of them in bars and joints”.
Further revealing more threats to the state security architecture, party said there were reports that some thugs had been allocated to work in strategic polling units and hijack election materials, “while APC chieftains have been kidnapped or marked for abduction. False charges have been leveled against illegally arrested and detained APC chieftains and several SAs and SSAs have been armed for the election.”
The APC alleged that the governor runs a strike force called the WABAZIGAN and that this force would be deployed to undermine the free and fair conduct of elections in Edo State. The ‘Operation WABAZIGAN’ is a security initiative of the governor to tackle security challenges in the state. Though it comprises of men of the state police command, it is believed to be under the control of the state government.