Tension in Abuja as lawyers protest injustice in Rivers rerun
A group under the aegis of Lawyers in Defence of Democracy in conjunction with Citizens for Good Governance, Monday, staged a protest at the premises of National Human Rights Commission, headquarters, Abuja demanding justice over the role played by some individuals during the December 10, Rivers re-run elections.
Below is the full text of their petition as presented to the commission:
The Rivers State re-run election of 10th December 2016, was almost marred by violence and rigging but for the resilience of Rivers people to resist all attempts to thwart their mandate. But this was at a great price and innocent citizens paid the ultimate price while protecting their sacred votes.
Following this we, lawyers in Defense Of Democracy in conjunction with citizens for Good governance planned a civil advocacy march for Thursday, 22 December, 2016 and had written letters to notify the police of the march and signed letters to be submitted to your office, the National Assembly, Amnesty International, Embassies of the UK And US etc. Our march was to raise alarm on the imminent threat to our national democracy and the ignoble role of security agencies in the Rivers re-run agencies which are being covered by the establishment.
Sir, at about 2:00am on The Morning of The Protest, Officers Of The DSS Stormed The Law Office Of Our Members At Suite B29, Shakir Plaza, Area 11, Garki-Abuja, ransacked the office, carted away all case files in the office, laptops, phones, all materials for the rally including Nigerian flags, posters and banners, all documents in the office and also arrested four of our members who are still in detention till date and have not been charged to court for any offences.
Prior to the election, the Inspector-General of police announced to the entire country that he was deploying twenty thousand (20,000) policemen, twenty (20) gun boats and three (3) helicopters. The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also announced the deployment of over ten thousand (10,000) personnel. Looking back, observers have all come to one conclusion, that the people of Rivers State were subjected to a war-like situation and were traumatized particularly for citizens in the Rivers South-east Senatorial District, Ikwerre and Emohua local government areas.
Sir, the INEC officials and police deployed not only rigged the elections in most polling units in Rivers South-East District culminating in announcement of results which in no way reflected the wishes and choice of the people. Where these rampaging forces were resisted by voters, they unleashed violence, snatched ballot boxes, stuffed them with ballot papers, abducted poll officials, snatched result sheets and compromised the collation process.
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