The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State has accused the State Government of being behind the abduction of a former member of the Federal House of Representatives, Chinyere Igwe and two other chieftains of the PDP.
Igwe, who represented Port Harcourt 11 Federal Constituency in the lower chamber of the National Assembly from 2007 to 2011, was kidnapped with Chairman of the PDP in Port Harcourt City Local Council Area, Mr. Ikechi Chinda and Mr. Allwell Ihunda, at the Eagle Island area of Port Harcourt, the state capital, on Wednesday night.
As at the time of filing this report, the kidnappers have not made any contact.
The PDP Chairman in Rivers, Mr. Felix Obuah accused Governor Chibuike Amaechi and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state of masterminding the abduction of his three members.
Speaking with reporters in Port Harcourt, the state capital on Thursday, Obuah claimed that Amaechi’s agitation for the redeployment of the former state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu, was primarily aimed at intimidating and oppressing his perceived opponents.
Obuah, who described the abduction of the party chieftains, by unknown gunmen as malicious, vindictive and well organised, warned that the PDP would mobilise the people of the state to embark on a mother-of-all protests against the governor if he failed to secure the release of the kidnap victims in the next 72 hours.
“After a very careful examination of the circumstances surrounding the abduction of our party leaders, the party believes that it was masterminded by Governor Rotimi Amaechi and the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government in the state. We are shocked that Governor Amaechi is playing politics with the security of lives and property in the state, thereby branding his political opponents his worst enemies. It has now become very clear that Amaechi’s consistent and sustained propaganda for the redeployment of the former Commissioner of Police, Rivers State, Mbu Joseph Mbu, was for him to intimidate and oppress his perceived and imagined political opponents as witnessed by the abduction of Chinda, Igwe and Ihunda”, he said.
The PDP chairman further urged the state government to urgently ensure that the three abducted party members are released unharmed. He said as a political party, the PDP would by no means tolerate the oppression or victimisation of any of its members for whatever political reason.
“We give Governor Amaechi 72 hours to ensure that the abducted PDP members are released unhurt. At the expiration of that time, the PDP shall mobilise its members and the good citizens of the state to stage the mother-of-all protests against Governor Amaechi’s terrorist tactics”, he said.
But the Rivers Commissioner for Information and Communications, Ms. Ibim Semenitari, has dismissed the allegation and instead castigated the PDP for being insensitive to the extent of playing politics with the lives of its members.
Semenitari said the state government condemns the abduction and has pleaded with the Police Command to expeditiously work towards securing their release unharmed.
However, the Publicity Secretary of the state APC, Mr. Andy Nweye, has berated the PDP for linking the governor and APC to the abduction of the three politicians.
“The truth is very clear; the APC has never been volatile. We have never believed in violence in this business. We are never and will never be involved in such things, so we condemn the kidnap. What we are praying is for peace to reign in Rivers State so that we can express ourselves and carry out our programmes. So, we are not involved and we can never be involved. It is not part of us and it will never be part of our programme”, he said.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Ahmed Mohammad, could not be reached to get his reaction to the development.