Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Labour Party has threatened to push for a declaration of state of emergency in Abia State over the continued destruction of campaign billboards of opposition parties.
Abia State Campaign Coordinator of Labour party, Hon. Acho Obioma, who decried the incessant destruction of the campaign billboards of the governorship candidate of the party, Dr Alex Otti, and other candidates of the party, accused agents of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of perpetrating the act.
Ikengaonline recalls that the State Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Mohamed Bala, had warned that security agencies would not tolerate the destruction of opponent’s billboards by any party.
The CP who spoke at the signing of Peace Accord by different political parties, said that law enforcement agencies would not hesitate to prosecute anyone caught destroying the billboards of others.
Similarly, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Munguno, has equally warned that the Federal Government would soon descend on thugs being used by Governors to destroy opposition billboards.
The Labour Party warned government against plunging the state into needless political crisis.
The party claimed that its rising popularity had made it the major target of sponsored attacks.
It accused the PDP-led Government of desperation to cling to power beyond 2023 “despite performing poorly.”
Labour Party demanded immediate release of its chieftain allegedly arrested for resisting agents of Government perpetrating the destruction of the opposition billboards in his domain.
“Sadly, after repeatedly destroying our gigantic billboard located around Umuikaa Junction at the Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway, the Government and her agents yesterday arrested one of our party chieftains from Isiala Ngwa South, Elder Dr. Nwaigburu after he and other party faithful prevented them from carrying out another act of destruction of our billboard a few days ago.
“Abia State Government has not been able to establish any single lawful reason for the destruction of our campaign billboards, except that our presence in the election contest in Abia has thrown the failed government into a panic mode, hence the resort to violence,” he said.
Labour Party urged the State Government to rein in its agents from further destruction of the opposition billboards as such is a precursor to anarchy.
“We call on the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Police, the DSS and indeed all law enforcement agencies saddled with the responsibilities of ensuring peace and order to call Ikpeazu and the Abia State Government to order before they set the state on avoidable fire.
“Labour Party and her candidates will not hesitate to prevail on the APC-led Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in Abia if this trend continues as the safety of lives and property of our people are of paramount importance to us.”
The party challenged Government to channel the resources used in fighting the opposition to pay the accumulated salary arrears of workers and pensioners.
Responding, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Eze Chikannayo, denied the allegations.
The Commissioner, however, added that “any billboard that bears a language inimical to public peace will be brought down without hesitation.”
The Commissioner advised politicians to “play their politics with caution because politics will come and go but Abia will still remain.”
Chikannayo said Abia State Government was committed to peaceful election and would not in any way be involved in illegality.