Ahead of 2019 general elections in Ebonyi State, Governor David Umahi has called on the leaders of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to think of other ways of winning elections instead of relying on police intimidation, saying that his administration would resist any attempt to intimidate it with security agents.
Governor Umahi, who was apparently responding to the persistent arrests of some loyalists of his government by security agencies suspected to be acting on the orders of some opposition politicians in the state, asserted that the state shall no longer remain silent in the sight of the unprovoked arrests.
Umahi made the statement on Wednesday while receiving Tilli Abubakar, the new Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police in charge of Zone 6, Calabar, at the Executive Council Chambers Government House in Abakaliki.
He described as alarming the rate at which opposition politicians influence arrest and transfer of cases from the state to Abuja and Calabar, with the sole aim of intimidating the people of the state and browbeating them into submission.
He disclosed that his administration had uncovered plots by the opposition to embark on random arrests of perceived government strongmen with the aim of transferring them to the Force Headquarters where they will be detained till the elections are over.
Umahi warned that henceforth, his administration would no longer allow such brazen intimidation of the law-abiding citizens of the state by opposition elements he described as desperate politicians.
“We don’t like our people being arrested here and taken to Abuja and Calabar over various flimsy cases. We have all the police establishments in the state; why should a matter that is happening in a police post be sent directly to the Commissioner of Police without going through the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the area?
“We will resist this type of wickedness and intimidation. Any crime that is committed here should be investigated in the place the crime was committed. We are not against the police doing their job, but our people have died in this type of incessant arrests and transfer to Abuja and Calabar. We have had cases of these people dying in accident on their way to Abuja and in some cases, assassins have disguised themselves as policemen and army to come and arrest our people and get them killed on the way.
“We will not allow it to happen again in the state. Politicians thinking of coming to arrest my people and keeping them away during election will be resisted. We will not accept this intimidation. If they come with 500 policemen, we will raise over 5,000 men to resist them.”
The governor also appealed to the AIG to use his good offices to put to an end the lingering crisis between some parts of Ebonyi and Cross River states by establishing a border command to take care of the crisis in the affected regions.