Ini Billie, Uyo
Center for Human Rights and Accountability Network (CRARN) has raised alarm over the planned importation of thugs and the institution of violence during the March 11 Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections.
Speaking on Wednesday in Uyo during a press conference, State Director of CRARN, Otuekong Franklyn Isong who alleged that there were plans to import thugs into Akwa Ibom to cause violence during the elections, cautioned politicians against instigating insecurity during the polls.
Isong called on the Nigeirian Police and other security agencies to beef up security especially in the state, especially in riverine areas before, during and after the elections to avert a security crisis.
CRARN further cautioned politicians against heating up the polity, saying they should not assume power on the blood of Akwa Ibom citizens, and urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to sit up to its responsibilities
“Worrisome to us is the fact that our intelligence network however reveals that some politicians in Akwa Ibom State are perfecting plots to import thugs as well as real or fake security personnel from neighbouring states, particularly Rivers, Abia and Bayelsa States with the intention to subvert the vote and wishes of the Akwa Ibom people during the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections built for Saturday, March 11, 2023.
“We hereby call on the Nigerian police and other law enforcement agencies to be on alert and rise to the occasion of ensuring that the state remains peaceful while Akwa Ibom people go out enmasse to elect the governor and state Assembly members of their choice, come Saturday 11th March 2023.
“We urge the security agencies in the state to pay serious attention to our riverine bordering communities before, during and after the elections.
“We appeal to the political class, particularly the governorship candidates and their supporters not to approach the forthcoming elections with the do-or-die spirit, but with the spirit of sportsmanship.
“Of Paramount concern to them should be the interest, peace and growth of Akwa Ibom State. No political office is worth the blood of any Akwa Ibomites.
“At the end of the elections, only one person would occupy the office of the governor of Akwa Ibom State, and Akwa Ibom people would be the winners.
“The political parties and the elites in particular should see elections as processes to elect leaders by the people and not war fare.
“There should be reform in the country’s electoral system to address these aforementioned observations and other shortcomings in our electoral system,” he stated.