The All Progressives Congress, APC, has condemned the arrest of 120 election observers on Thursday at Disyne Hotel located at Owerri, Imo State, by the police, alleging that a script was being played out to rig Saturday’s governorship polls in Anambra State.
The heavily armed police officers were said to be acting on the instructions of Mohammed Katsina, commissioner of Police, Imo State.
It was gathered that the 120 arrested persons were in the hotel to undergo training conducted by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, ahead of Saturday’s gubernatorial election holding in Anambra State.
According to a statement issued by Human Rights activist, Festus Keyamo, on behalf of the party, the entire accredited observers are currently in detention at the Imo State Police Command.
In a separate reaction, the APC has also accused the police of acting out the script of the PDP for Saturday’s governorship election in Anambra by arresting the election monitors, which it disclosed are from Osun State.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Friday by its interim national publicity secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said that the tagging of the observers as “armed hoodlums carrying fake voters cards, official identity cards of INEC and independent Observer identity cards” is false.
“Those who were arrested by the increasingly partisan police are election monitors from Osun, who are members of the Justice and Equality Organization, an INEC-accredited election monitoring NGO,” the party observed.
It went further: ”Those whom the police have labelled as thugs are members of the Justice and Equality Organization. They are in Owerri for training ahead of the election. They chose Owerri because of its proximity to Anambra and its affordable hotel costs. None of them is a member of the APC, despite the insinuation by the police, and none is armed, because you don’t need guns to monitor elections. Any weapon exhibited by the police must have been procured by them to justify their gaffe.”
”The only offence that the arrested election monitors have committed, in the eyes of the police, is that they are from a staunchly APC state with zero tolerance for the do-nothing, bumbling PDP,” it concluded.