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GRAVE THREAT TO PEACE AND STABILITY IN RIVERS STATE, NIGERIA (Open Letter to the President of the Peoples Republic of China by Dr. Austin Tam-George, Commissioner for Information, Rivers State)

GOVERNMENT OF RIVERS STATE OF NIGERIA

Office of the Hon. Commissioner Ministry of Information and Communication

 

14th March 2016

 

The President of the Peoples Republic of China

Thro:

The Ambassador,

Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China

Plot 302/303, Central Business Area,

Abuja,

 

Your Excellency,

Grave Threat to Peace and Stability in Rivers State, Nigeria

I write on behalf of the Government and people of Rivers State, Nigeria, to inform you respectfully of the imminent danger posed to the peace and stability of Rivers State, by the actions and provocative utterances of the leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In the run-up to the re-run legislative polls billed for the 19th of March 2016 in Rivers State, leaders of the APC, notably, Mr Dakuku Peterside, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, and others, have resorted to intimidatory tactics and are openly inciting violence against members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and anyone who holds a different political perspective in the state.

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s judgment recently affirming Governor Nyesom Wike as the duly elected governor of Rivers State, among other PDP victories, the APC has ratcheted up its dangerous rhetoric.

In a widely publicized media interview, Chief John Oyegun the National Chairman of the APC has castigated the integrity of the Justices of the Supreme Court, declaring, “Something is fundamentally wrong in the judiciary”.

Oyegun also made the bizarre suggestion that all oil-producing states of the Niger Delta region were prized assets to be acquired at all costs by the APC.

“We have lost very important resource-rich states to the PDP. No matter how crude oil prices have fallen, it is still the most important revenue earner for the country”, Chief Oyegun said.

In Chief Oyegun’s company was Mr Dakuku Peterside, the defeated Rivers State APC governorship candidate, who seemed to use the meeting to incite the military and the Federal Government against the people of Rivers State.

Among the demands of Dakuku Peterside and the Rivers State APC was the purge of alleged sympathizers “of the immediate-past federal government administration in the leadership of security agencies, especially in the Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.”

This absolutist politics of the APC is not only a direct threat to democracy in Nigeria, but seems to be a manifesto for the open politicization of the security forces of the country.

Dakuku Peterside’s irresponsible call for a politically-motivated “purge” in the security forces will spell disaster for Nigeria.

In a series of media interviews that began with an appearance on “Focus Nigeria”, a TV programme on African Independent Television (AIT) in Abuja, and with radio stations in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister for Transportation in Nigeria, continues to use language that is both inciting and dangerously divisive.

There are media reports, not denied even by the APC, that Mr. Rotimi Amaechi who has threatened to “do battle” with the PDP and the people of Rivers State during the polls, was accompanied into Port Harcourt last week by over 500 fully-armed military special forces.

Mr Amaechi has himself publicly threatened to “flood” every polling unit in Rivers State with soldiers in a bid to rig the elections in favour of the All Progressives Congress.

There are Supreme Court judgments that expressly forbid the use of the military in election matters, and at the polling booth. Mr Amaechi’s threat to inject the military directly into the electoral process in Rivers State is therefore alarmingly dangerous and illegal.

The homes of key leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party are being routinely raided and vandalized by Mr Amaechi’s goons. And plans have already been perfected to arrest all leaders of the PDP in Rivers State 48 hours to the elections on the 19th of March.

Mr Rotimi Amaechi is an influential cabinet Minister in the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari of Nigeria. Our repeated appeals to the President to call Mr Amaechi to order have therefore gone unheeded.

With a population of 4.5 million people, Rivers State is the oil and gas metropolis of Nigeria. The eruption of violence in a State with strong multi-ethnic fault lines could cripple Nigeria’s ailing economy, and reverberate across the country’s borders.

We therefore call on the Government of the Peoples Republic of China to urgently initiate and maintain pressure on the Federal Government of Nigeria to allow free, fair and violence-free elections in Rivers State on the 19th of March 2016.

Yours Sincerely,

Dr. Austin Tam-George.

Commissioner for Information and Communication,

3rd Floor, Rivers State Secretariat Complex,

Port Harcourt,

Rivers State, Nigeria.

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