The Secretariat of the Labour Party (LP) in Imo, situated on Wethedral Road adjacent to the old timber market in Owerri, has been reduced to rubble by suspected thugs accompanied by some policemen suspected to have been engaged by the state government to perpetrate the act.
The demolition, which took place in the wee hours of Monday under the supervision of armed policemen, has expectedly attracted condemnation from residents of the state, who interpreted it as highhanded and a ploy to intimidate the opposition in respect of the November governorship election.
Already, the national leadership of the party, through the National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifo, relying on information made available by the state chairman of the party, Barr. Calistus Ihejiagwa, has forwarded the Save Our Soul Message to the National Secretariat in Abuja and the Inspector General of Police to rescue the party from further intimidation and harassment.
He said: “At the early hours of today, Monday, August 28, the Imo State Secretariat of the Labour Party has once again been attacked by the police and thugs allegedly on the directives of the state government”.
The state chairman of the Labour Party (Imo State), Barrister Callistus Ihejiagwa, had earlier sent an SOS to the public, informing Nigerians to come to the aid of the party, which at the time was at the mercy of the attackers, who comprised over a hundred thugs and the accompanying men of the Police Force.
According to the Chairman, apart from vandalizing the party secretariat, the hoodlums also pulled down the flag of the party, the billboard of the presidential candidate of the party, Peter Obi, and that of the governorship candidate, Sen. Athan Achonu, beat up some party officials and staff around and made away with people’s phones.
He said: “When he confronted them, they said they were under directives by the state government to pull down Peter Obi and Senator Athan’s billboards, particularly that of Obi.
“They were instructed to target Obi’s billboard everywhere in the city. One of the assaulted members of the party is presently hospitalized after the brutality meted out to us. We are calling on the whole world to hear our predicament and come to our aid. The government is now hounding every opposition element in the state.”
The chairman recalled that the same secretariat was attacked in March as well as in April this year by the police in connivance with the state government.
He therefore called on the state government to refrain from using brute force and intimidation against opposition political parties in the state.
The party chairman called on the Inspector General of the Police to caution the government of the state and order the police commissioner in the state to rise to the occasion and check any further intimidation of the Labour Party and our members in the state.
When contacted, the Imo Police Command Public Relations Officer, ASP Henry Okoye, denied knowledge of the incident and promised to carry out investigations.
Efforts to reach the Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Mbadiwe Declan Emeluma, for his reactions proved abortive, as calls put across to him did not sail through.
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