Leaders of the People’s Democratic Party ( PDP ) in Apa Ward, Ado Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue State have appealed to the State Police Commissioner over the alleged assault and intimidation of their members during the March 9 governorship election by soldiers on the orders of one Agbese Philip.
It alleged that Nelson Ogbu, Comrade James Oche, Emmanuel Aboh, Ogbu Ogaba, Innocent Egegwu, Susan Onmonya, Kingsley Onmonya, Otse Unazi, Udah Okibe and the entire PDP Ward executives in the ward were harassed, intimidated by the soldiers led by one Corporal Echo Omerigwe alias Tension.
According to the petition signed by their lawyer M.S. Agaku, the soldiers also intimidated innocent voters who were sympathetic to the PDP, adding that Agbese who brought them, bragged publicly that they were assigned to him by the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.
“Agbese Philip also boasted that as a consultant to the Nigerian Army, he has the capacity and the authority to commit any crime,” it stated.
The petitioners alleged that Agbese led suspected thugs identified as Attah Adadu, Mike Omerigwe and a corps member serving in Bayelsa State Otse Unazi, among others to New Site Polling Unit where notable members of the PDP were beaten up including the Senior Special Assistant to Benue State Governor on Media Nelson Ogbu and Senior Special Assistant to the former President of the Senate James Oche.
They said that those assaulted were forced to abandon their Polling Unit for their safety.
“These assault, threats, intimidation continued in other Polling Units of Azegbilede, RCM Primary School, Austine Chemist, Apa Ugbozu, Methodist Primary school ll, Uwezekoka and many others wherein the Special Adviser to the Governor of Benue State Joseph Ogezi and his fellow voters were brutalized.
“Ballot Boxes and other electoral materials were forcefully snatched, later thump printed and returned back to INEC office leading to the cancellation of election in 10 affected Polling Units.
“Agbese Philip, the soldiers and thugs publicly embarked on more terrible acts including but not limited to burning of electoral materials in areas where the APC performed abysmally. These acts affected the outcome of the election in the ward where results of 10 polling units were cancelled,” the petition stated.
According to the lawyer, the PDP was concerned that in the scheduled rerun, Agbese might exhibit similar attacks, alleging that he was already bragging about the assignment of more soldiers and thugs to him.
He said if allowed unchecked, could cause grievous body harm to members of the Apa Ward; destroy electoral materials and other conducts capable of causing breach of public peace.
Calling on the police to investigate those involved with a view to bringing them to justice, the lawyer said actions should also be taken to safeguard life and property in the scheduled rerun.