The All Progressives Congress (APC) has cried out over President Goodluck Jonathan’s continued aloofness to the activities of his supporters, which it said is pushing Nigeria to the precipice, after PDP-sponsored and police-backed militants attacked a peaceful rally in Rivers State with guns and other weapons, for the second consecutive Sunday.
APC, in a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said hoodlums invaded the rally by the Save Rivers Movement (SRM) in Bori, where the executives of the pan Rivers group in Khana Local Government Area were to be inaugurated, attacked attendees and beat up some of the journalists, who were invited to cover the event, vandalizing their vehicles and equipment in the process.
It said while the attack raged on, the police – who had been formally informed of the rally and were expected to provide protection – gave the hoodlums a free rein, in the most egregious and open display of partisanship by an institution of the state saddled with ensuring the protection of lives and property of all citizens.
The opposition party said the police took its partisanship to another level when, the previous day (Saturday), it sent over 300 men to protect a pro-PDP rally that was used solely to launch a blistering verbal assault on the APC and Governor Chibuike Amaechi.
The police offered protection for a pro-PDP group, Grassroots Democratic Initiative, GDI, sponsored by Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, which is holding another rally in Degema on Sunday (yesterday).
“Today’s (Sunday’s) attack came a week after a similar one saw a Senator, Magnus Abe, shot by policemen who also attacked and tear-gassed innocent women and children, among others.
“As the Presidency-backed impunity in Rivers worsens, we at the APC are left with no choice than to alert all well-meaning Nigerians as well as the international community to call President Jonathan to order, since he has refused to allow peace to reign in the state just because of his personal ambition.
“Because of the danger this state-backed thuggery can inflict on our young democracy; because of the harm being done to the polity by escalating political violence; and because of the fact that impunity does not breed peace, we will continue to cry out, hoping that reason will prevail and that President Jonathan will no longer allow his ambition to be watered by the blood of the same citizens he swore an oath to protect.
“It is clear that despite the Presidency’s loud silence on the Rivers crisis, it is the architect of the violence in the state, and the 2014 Ekiti and Osun governorship elections and the 2015 general elections are the reasons.
“That is why we will not relent in blaming the Presidency for the violence. Surely, when the Presidency is tired of violence, peace will return to Rivers state”, the party said.