Rivers APC,PDP reject ban on political rallies

Mbu cpIn a curious twist of events, rival political parties in Rivers State have condemned the ban on political parties by the state police command.In their separate statements emailed to Newsdiaryonline, the Rivers All Progressives Congress,APC and Rivers PDP have decribed the ban as unacceptable.

The Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) said the Rivers Police Command’s directive banning any form of rallies or political gatherings in Rivers State is an act of illegality as well as an abuse of the inalienable right of the people of Rivers State to freely associate as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, alleging that the directive is a “direct declaration of war on the long-suffering people of Rivers State”.

The party in a statement by Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, Senior Special Aide on Media and Publicity to Rivers State APC Chairman, Dr. Davies Ikanya, on Monday 3rd February, 2014 said, “We are aware that this satanic directive is aimed at disrupting our membership drive and registration of our teeming loyalists scheduled to start this Wednesday, the 5th of February, 2014. This draconian and unwarranted directive at this period is clearly targeted
at frustrating us after we have already trained our Registration Officers and mobilised materials in this regard to all the awards in Rivers State. This latest act of impunity by the Rivers State Police Command under the watch of CP Mbu Joseph Mbu designed to sabotage our membership drive will however fail as it lacks the power to stop this nationwide exercise from being carried out in Rivers State”.

Continuing, the party said, “For the avoidance of doubt, Rivers State is still an integral part of Nigeria and subject to Nigerian laws, including the one that guarantees the people’s right to freedom of association”, adding that the party has already directed its lawyers to challenge the ban order in the court and further directed its Registration Officers to commence the exercise as scheduled by the 5th March, 2014.

APC declared, “If the intention of the Rivers State Command is to use this as a ploy to disrupt our planned registration then it is an exercise in futility as we will be left with no alternative than to challenge it formally in the law court. But if not we will do everything to support such
a ban”.

The party thanked the Rivers State people for their wise decision to massively join the All Progressives Congress (APC) so as to ensure that, they will “collectively bury the doomed Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that lacks vision and the capacity to move Nigeria forward”.

On its part, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Rivers State today said it is not satisfied with the latest action by the Rivers State Police Command in banning political rallies and protests in the State.

The PDP explained that after reviewing the Police decision, it seems to it that the Police authorities in the State have succumbed to the pressure and blackmail by the Rivers State Government, the Save Rivers Movement and the All Progressives Congress, stressing that doing so would contradict the applaudable stance of the Police in the State as an uncompromising institution.

The PDP further noted that the police had granted permission to Amaechi to hold an APC rally at Liberation Stadium, where it the party alleged that Amaechi openly campaigned for the former Lagos State Governor, Tinubu as Presidential candidate of APC.

“PDP regrets that such opportunity given to the APC by the police, was yet to be given to the PDP, before the ban on political rallies and campaign” the statement said.

“The Party expresses concern that the order will mainly affect it, as the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi in his usual manner, will under the cover of state government’s events and programmes, continue to organize political rallies, protests and other activities for the All Progressives Congress, APC, a situation the PDP believes will not be tolerated,
particularly if the Police allow such development.”

However,The PDP said , as a law-abiding Party, it will respect the order of the Police as it has always done, but hopes that such disposition will not be taken for granted by certain persons to be indecorous.”

“The Party therefore encourages the Police to put in place adequate machinery to monitor those that may flout the order under any guise,” Jerry Needam,media aide to Rivers PDP chairman said in the statement.

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