The Chairman, Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Felix Obuah, has dismissed the statement by the All Progressives Congress that the Fact-Finding mission by the House of Representatives Committee on the killing of innocent persons in Ogoni communities on February 22 and 23, 2016 was sponsored by Governor Nyesom Wike.
PDP described the allegation as an admittance by the APC that it actually deployed soldiers to Ogoniland and the entire state during the March 19, 2016 re-run elections to do everything to deliver its candidates in the elections.
The PDP chairman in a statement signed by his media aide, Jerry Needam observed that the attitude of the APC to a process aimed at giving justice to the people of Ogoni, who have been made to suffer undue abuses and killed for no just cause is quite unfortunate and least expected of a party that ought to place the dignity of human life above political ambition of individuals.
Obuah then out rightly condemned the APC position saying rather than facing the real issues and facts already revealed at the public hearing by the Committee in Port Harcourt on Monday, April 18, 2016, which indicts the Nigerian Army and some APC candidates, including, Mr. Barry Mpigi and Magnus Abe, on the atrocities committed in Ogoniland, the APC is only making efforts to cover them up and distort the stunning revelations by witnesses and members of victims’ families.”
“APC is only wasting its time making frivolous claims and blackmailing the Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, over a well intended undertaken by the National Assembly. However, if the Governor would prefer sponsoring a course of justice for the people, that to us, is a welcome development.
“But we would like to place on record that neither the Governor nor the PDP government in the State is involved in any move to blackmail the Army out of Ogoniland as alleged by the APC. We would continue to co-operate with all arms and government institutions at all levels on a genuine mission to achieve justice, peace and security in our State and the nation.
PDP Chairman therefore stated that it owes no apology to Dr. Ikanya (APC chairman in Rivers) and the APC, if providing the National Assembly Committee conducive environment and space to carry out its legitimate assignment in the state is considered as a means of stampeding the Nigerian Army out of Ogoniland before the conclusion of the outstanding re-run elections process in the area.
The statement further said its understanding of the fact-finding mission of the National Assembly Committee on Army was to ensure justice rules over injustice and to reassure the affected people that the government still upholds its constitutional function of protection of lives and properties of the citizenry; the Ogoni not an exception.
Obuah wonders why the APC has still not realized that we are in a democracy, where free and fair elections and respect of human rights ought to triumph, and that allowing the Army in the streets and at polling areas, rather than in the barracks or at the nation’s territorial areas, would amount to distracting them from concentrating on their legitimate rules, including tackling the insurgency in the North East.
“It is obvious that the situation the APC today describes as ‘troubled parts of Ogoni’ is a creation of its acts of desperation to win elections in the area.
“While we however, agree with the APC that both the House of Representatives and the Army should endeavour to carry out their constitutional responsibilities, we emphasize that such should be done with utmost regard for the fundamental rights of defenseless citizens.
Obuah asked why the APC is insisting on military occupation of Ogoni during the period?Why is the APC interested in using the army in the re-run elections in Ogoni and the State at large?
The party asked to know when it become wrong for a sitting Governor to host or welcome members or representatives of government institutions and National Assembly Committees on a fact- finding mission in the State? And why has the APC not considered the lives of innocent Ogoni indigenes and residents wasted in the unwarranted military raid in Ogoni communities important?
The PDP urges the APC to cooperate with the House of Representatives Committee on Army on a fact finding mission in the State to stop blackmailing the Governor for what he never did.