Leaders of the Conference of Harmonised Civil Society Organisations have accused the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State of sponsoring protests trailing the state government’s suspension of some council chairmen for fraud and abuse of office.
They alleged that sponsored youths sympathetic to the APC were involved in the destruction of property in some council areas where the chairmen were suspended by the Benue State House of Assembly particularly in Gboko local government area.
Addressing a press conference in Makurdi, the state capital, Richard Jonah, national coordinator of the CSOs said that the violence portended danger for the general elections. He added that the unwarranted showed the level of unpreparedness and desperation of political parties and their sympathisers.
Jonah said: “You will recall that properties were destroyed and of course, the economy was derailed on account of the activities of sponsored miscreants.
We have investigated the cause of the unrest and come up with the findings: following the decision by the Benue State House of Assembly to suspend the affected local government chairmen, for abuse of office and administrative infractions, the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state took it upon itself to bankroll the destabilisation of the enabling peace in the state. We view this decision as a mere political antic to create confusion and panic to the public as we go into the nation’s most important election.
“We observe that political parties who are not prepared for the election are bent on fomenting trouble thereby, causing political /civil unrest. This is highly condemnable and unacceptable,” he said.
In a statement made available to LEADERSHIP in Abuja yesterday, the CSOs condemned the act of brigandage, which it alleged was evidently supported by APC stalwarts.
According to him, “We recognise that, the affected local government chairmen are at liberty to challenge the decision in the law courts, using the independent judiciary if they feel dissatisfied. This is the least that is expected of any public office holder , rather than resorting to self-help.
“We are saddened that negative effects of the civil unrest which is clearly sponsored by the All progressive Congress (APC) has a multiplier effect on our economy, politics and social stability,” Jonah said.
“We are displeased and worried that the APC is shopping for a state of emergency through the backdoor, hence the sponsored crisis/civil unrest . We further warn that we have credible information of clandestine meetings being held to destabilise the state in the build up to the 2019 general election .
The idea however, is to overwhelm the executive governor of Benue State for daring to defend his people against the interest of the federal government-controlled APC.
The groups called on the security agencies to be neutral and mindful of their obligation to the citizens which is the protection of life and property.
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