National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed has slammed President Jonathan for the deployment of over 70,000 soldiers to Osun to monitor Saturday’s election, saying it shows that “we are in a militarized democracy.”
“Irrespective of the outcome of the Osun election, democracy has been dealt a near-mortal blow. 73,000 ‘security agents’, including the military, police, DSS, Civil Defence, ex-militants, thugs and murderers, deployed to police election in just one state?”
Mohammed, who said he was arrested hours before the election commenced late on Friday night said he was lucky to be alive.
The APC spokesman was said to have been arrested alongside a media aide to the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Mr. Afolabi Afolabi Salisu, Deputy Chief of Staff to Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.
“We were being driven to the Government House when we were stopped at a military check point by men in military and DSS uniforms, all hooded and armed to the teeth with AK-47 assault rifles, pistols and other weapons. Since there was no curfew in Osun and people were moving around freely, we felt it was a routine check.
“Suddenly, the men, some of them apparently drunk, ordered us out of the car, took our phones, pointed their assault rifles at our heads and said ‘you are under arrest’. They herded us into their bus like animals and drove away. There is no doubt that they knew who we are because I introduced myself!
“From our encounter with our tormentors, there is also no doubt that these were not just soldiers and DSS officials, there were also ex-militants and thugs, all clad in military and DSS uniforms but apparently lacking in any training! We also witnessed how men in military and DSS uniform fired their guns at the gate leading to the residence of Senator Isiaka Adeleke to force it open!
“We asked them why we were being arrested, but they ignored our question as they drove for close to one hour before veering into a compound that turned out to be the offices of the DSS. There, we met people who had been previously arrested and stripped of their clothing, many of them bloodied from the beatings to which they must have been subjected.
“We were herded to one side as our tormentors marched around triumphantly, in what could well have been a scene from the Ukraine! We were waiting for our turn to be stripped of our apparels and taken along with those who were arrested earlier to the DSS cells when a man who is apparently a senior DSS official intervened and ordered our release. The men who arrested us, apparently unhappy at the order to set us free, rejected the order, until the man asserted his authority and even accompanied us to where we were arrested from.
“Our party, the APC, has, no doubt, whatsoever that the depravity being exhibited under President Jonathan’s watch, in the name of politics, has his imprimatur. We have no doubt that elections, which should be a celebration of democracy, have now been turned to war because of the desperation of President Jonathan to win re-election at all costs. We have no doubt that the anarchic Minister of State for Defence and Minister of Police Affairs, who are leading the ”troops” in Osun as they did in Ekiti, are taking their cue from President Jonathan.
“If those Ministers can move around freely in Osun and elsewhere, why can’t other Nigerians, irrespective of the party they belong to? If a PDP “hireling” like Chris Uba can be put in the command of 50 soldiers of the Nigerian Army, why should anyone still be under any illusion that the Nigerian Army is still serving the nation? Where else in the world is a thug commanding disciplined forces?
“We (Lai Mohammed, Sunday Dare and Afolabi Salisu), are just fortunate to be alive. The guns pointed at our heads by drunken armed men could have gone off! Since our arrest took place in the dark, we could have been driven to an unknown destination and shot dead! This is a dangerous time for Nigeria and her democracy,” the statement said.