Campaign Billboard used for illustration
The Commissioner of Police in Abia, Chris Ezike, has accused “major” political parties in the state of being responsible for the destruction of campaign billboards.
Mr Ezike told the News Agency of Nigeria in Aba on Tuesday that the command had taken measures to tackle the situation to avoid possible clashes.
He warned that such destruction would no longer be tolerated, and regretted that politicians were hiring thugs specifically for such purpose.
“From our findings, all politicians are guilty of this attitude. They employ miscreants to do that in the wee hours. The miscreants remove posters and destroy billboards.
“We have a meeting of Abia State Consultative Committee on Election tomorrow (Wednesday). We hope to address the issue there,” he said.
The police commissioner cautioned against violence and thuggery during and after the election, saying that there were rules that must be respected.
“The rules are clear; nobody has the right to destroy anybody’s billboards, or engage in violence and thuggery.
“Two cases of campaign billboards destruction have been reported to the police and are under investigation.
“One happened at Nkporo, Ohafia Local Government Area, while the other happened at Isiala at Ngwa North Local Government Areas,” he said.
Recall that the APC, in Abia had cautioned members of the ruling party PDP in the state to desist from the destruction of its posters and billboards.
APC Publicity Secretary, Benedict Godson, gave the warning on Monday while reacting to alleged destruction of campaign billboards and posters of some the party’s candidates across the state.
Mr Godson described the recent destruction of campaign posters of the Isiala Ngwa North and South Federal Constituency candidate, Mrs Blessing Nwokonneya and others in various locations as uncalled for.
He said his party was not weak to confront the PDP for retaliation, but maintained that turning Abia into a war zone was not the approach of politics that the APC believed in.
He urged the police and other security agencies to fish out and deal decisively with touts recruited to carry out the acts and also apprehend their sponsors.
He said only prosecution of those involved would assuage those whose campaign materials were destroyed.
“The PDP is really trying to throw Abia into serious violence. We are cautioning them to stop these provocative acts to avoid throwing our peaceful state into avoidable violence as elections draw closer.
“”Destroying posters and billboards belonging to opposition parties is not part of democracy. It’s a sign of frustration and frustrated people don’t play free and fair games.
“They started these their evil acts sometimes last year and have continued with it in this New Year by destroying billboards of Lady Blessing Uwoma Nwokonneya our House of Representatives candidate for Isiala Ngwa North and South Constituency.
“The PDP is frustrated because the people have rejected them. Their failure to work for Abians is beginning to hunt them down.
“Their bank of lies is empty as they have run short of lies to tell our people. They now see anyone from APC as their problem which is very ridiculous”, he said.
Mr Godson challenged the PDP to come into the electoral contests in Abia with free and fair minds if they had marketable candidates.
He said the APC had the capacity to match the PDP in anyway but noted that joining in their illegal and provocative actions would result in unnecessary bloodshed of innocent Abians.
The Abian State PDP Spokesman, Chief Don Ubani when contacted said that the PDP had no business as a party with giving orders for anybody to destroy campaign materials of other parties.
“You know that the PDP has a track record. PDP is not known for violence. And PDP cannot resort to pettiness.
“Why would you need to tear the campaign posters of persons who you know if election is conducted 20 times, your party will pip them?
“So these are very false allegations, spurious claims. The woman in Isiala Ngwa, as I passed now, I saw her poster.
“She constitutes not threat to us. We believe in the collective free will of the people to take precedence over whatever individual aspiration is.
“So we don’t have any business tearing any candidate’s poster. What would we gain by doing that? he asked.