The All Progressives Congress (APC) has strongly condemned the arrest and continued detention of one of the party’s leaders in Edo State, Mr. Joe Okojie, and his continued detention even after a court of competent jurisdiction has issued an order for his release.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Friday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party demanded Okojie’s immediate release, without condition, in accordance with the court order, saying that transferring him to Abuja, as being speculated, will signal that the PDP government has finally decided to substitute the rule of law with arbitrary rule, with grave prognosis for the nation’s democracy.
It wondered why the police, created to enforce the law and protect lives and property, will be so comfortable violating the same law.
APC said Okojie was arrested, along with other party members, by CSP Patrick Ejedawe, a serving police officer in Lagos State who was one of the over 1,000 out-of-town policemen who were drafted to Esan North East LGA of Edo State for the Oct. 22nd election in the council.
He was alleged to have arranged for party members to steal ballot papers and thumb print same secretly, when in fact he was called to help secure the release of APC members who were hounded into a truck by the police for not having ID cards.
”While others were released, Okojie was transferred to Benin, ‘on orders from above’, where he was detained. After all efforts to secure his release failed, an action predicated on the fundamental human rights was then filed Thursday in a Benin High court and the court ordered his immediate release pending investigation and adjourned the case to 4 Nov. 2013.
”The order was served on the Edo State Commissioner of Police before the close of business Thursday, but up till the time of issuing this statement, he has not been released. This is impunity at its worst and a slap on the face of justice,” the party said.
It expressed shock that a citizen’s right will be so wantonly violated simply on the basis of ‘orders from above’, when Nigeria is running a democracy that is based on Constitutional order and the rule of law.
”What does ‘order from above’ mean? Does it mean the Inspector General of Police of PDP leaders? We ask because the only reason 1,000 policemen were deployed for an election in just one local government council (without any request from the State Government or the State Electoral body) is that the Chairman of PDP’s BOT, Chief Tony Anenih, hails from that LGA. Is he the one behind the ‘order from above’ mantra?
”Is it true that Okojie is being pressured to denounce APC before he can be released? Has the Nigeria Police now become the PDP and Anenih Police? Is this the contribution that the Nigeria Police want to make to Nigeria’s democracy?” it queried.