PDP decries mass arrest of members in Niger Delta states

•Says APC is turning the region into a war zone

THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has decried the on-going mass arrest and detention of its leaders and members in South-South states of Rivers, Delta and Akwa-Ibom states by the Nigerian military ahead of the March 9, 2019 governorship and state Assembly elections.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary and Director, Media & Publicity

PDP Presidential Campaign Organization, the party accused the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) of turning the South-South zone into a war zone, “out of their desperation to suppress voters, manipulate the electoral process and forcefully take over control of the states.”

The statement said: “In Rivers state, leaders of the PDP are being hounded and forcefully picked up in a well-coordinated operation by military operatives attached to the Director General of Buhari’s Campaign Organization and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.

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“Our party has received reports on how soldiers led by one Major Mustapha Bello from Sokoto Division, under Amaechi’s directives, manhandled, arrested and took away the Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Dr Tam Gogo Jaja to an unknown destination.

“During the February 23 polls, soldiers, also under the directives of Rotimi Amaechi, invaded the state and engaged in unrestrained harassment of PDP supporters, resulting in the killing of over 30 innocent citizens.”

The PDP, therefore, invited Nigerians and the international community to note the development in the South-South as well as “how the Buhari Presidency and the APC are provoking the people of the region and pushing them to the precipice.”

It further stated: “The tension in the Niger Delta has been dangerously stretched and there is a limit to what the people can stomach in the face of such aggressions without resort to self-help.

“Moreover, the Niger Delta region remains a stronghold of the PDP and no amount of intimation and assault by the APC can change this reality.”

The main opposition party demanded the immediate release of every PDP member arrested by the military as well as instant stoppage of military aggression in the region ahead of the elections.

“Any delay in the cessation of this aggression by the APC and the military will destroy the precarious peace in the region and spell doom for our nation,” it declared.