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NUJ Presidential Election: Election Venue Is A Dead Trap – Stakeholders


Things appear to have been taking new twists in the forthcoming Nigeria Union Of Journalists Presidential election scheduled to hold in Abia in October.

A chunk of delegates from almost all the Northern States of Nigeria and some other states of the federation have expressed their reservation, especially as it concerns the safety of their lives over the choice of Abia state as venue for the election.

They are terrified they might stray into traps of hundreds of criminals operating in Abia state, apparently in view of palpable insecurity and severe tension which claims lives of innocent people, with its attendant unwanton destruction of government properties, especially security formation, including the police stations across the state.

In view of the above the scared stiff delegates described the choice of the election venue as as a grand plot to scare and shut out intending voters from the process, especially delegates the Northern states of the country.

The decision of NUJ NEC was said to have been fraught with immense illegality and unknown conventional to NUJ process.

“The interested officials decided to breach the standard process to suit their interest, voice voting they claimed to have applied to determine the choice of venue has never been the tradition of NUJ, rather, it has always been vote counting, but they fraudulently adopted voice voting which is not known to NUJ to determine their choice of venue.” says an aggrieved source.

” We are not going to succumb to that very dangerous trick of being rail road into death trap, knowing fully the massive insecurity in Abia state. Never! Does it even make sense to almost 1000 thousands journalists for election. They thought they are being smart.”

In his reaction to the development, Liman Shuibu, National Secretary, Nigeria Union of Journalists disclosed that truly lots of people are being apprehensive of going to Abia for the election, but expressed optimism that nothing untoward would happen during the election.

His words: ”Well, l have not officially received any complaint about this issue, but l do know that lots of people have expressed their reservation about the choice of Abia as venue for the election. But again you will agree with me that there is insecurity all over the country, but don’t think it will be a major problem. We shall get all the security organs informed about the need for our protection at the venue of the election.”

Speaking on phone with People’s Security Monitor correspondent, Mohammed Seidu, former National Trustee for Zone C from NUJ Adamawa State Council, expressed sadness over the development, because according to him ” what should ordinarily be election affair has turned to ” do or die affair”

”Honestly, I would not blame any one who has chosen not to go near Abia state during the election. With the trend of insecurity in Abia state where unknown gun men are having a field day, and you are telling people to go there and embrace death. No way! We all know that IPOB has already declared sit-at-home every Monday in Abia state, and that is the day that interests whoever to hold election, how sensible is this? Even when you provide security at the election venue, would the security operatives follow you back home.? We have said this time without number that this idea of taking election to contestant’s village should stop because, apart from the security risk, it’s also a waste of resources because of logistic of transportation, feeding and accommodation. Instead of all these stress, we should just make Abuja our election ground because of its neutrality.” Seidu said

When contacted over the issue, Victor Oluwadamilare, former Chairman, NUJ Oyo state Council described the idea of Abia venue of the election as ”a suicide mission that could trigger a huge tragedy for the nation. Of course massive killings of journalists could be applied to make a statement by IPOB who says it’s not possible? Personally I would campaign against the choice of Abia state as venue for our election. Why would any sensible person take about 1000 journalists to a state where armed security personnel are being killed like goats almost on daily basis.?” Oluadamilare wonders.

Abia is among states in the southeast geographical zone of Nigeria that are being ravaged by the unknown gunmen, with attacks on security formations and federal assets.

There is no doubt that the heinous attacks by the unknown gunmen in Abia State had so far claimed many lives, particularly that of the security agents.

It has recorded cases of attacks ranging from burning down of the Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) office situated at Umuagu Umuahia, Uzuakoli Divisional Police station, Nigerian Immigration Service office, Ubakala and Ubakala Police station in Umuahia South Local government area of the State.

Irked by the serial attacks on its formations across the states of the southeast region, the Nigeria Police High Command had accused the members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the security outfit of the proscribed Indigeneous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu of the attack on its facilities. Amid the notion that the Eastern Security Network, ESN, was established to attack security operatives and formations, Kanu insisted that the group had not been involved in any criminal activity.

Recall that Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, on December 13, launched the ESN security outfit due to the rising insecurity in the region. According to Kanu, ESN was established to defend the people of the Eastern region from terrorists and bandits allegedly trooping in from the North. He further insisted that the ESN was only established against herdsmen militias. According to him, operatives of the security outfit are too disciplined to be involved in criminal activities.

He said, “I have said it before but let me say it again that the Eastern Security Network I command is strictly organized to deal with terrorist herdsmen in our land. ESN is a highly disciplined group of volunteers that do not engage in any act of criminality or terror”.

Peeved by the activities of the unknown gunmen, which had taken dangerous dimension in the state, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu imposed curfew in major cities of Abia State as part of his government’s proactive measures to curtail further attacks on security personnel by the yet to be known armed men. Ikpeazu vowed to make Abia unsafe for criminal elements, warning criminal elements to desist from acts capable of truncating the peace and security of the state. He described it as a whirlwind that will blow no one good.

Following the spate of attacks by the unknown gunmen, residents of the Abia state were thrown into fear, with many deserting and scampering from being hit by stray bullets as a result of the confrontation between men of Nigeria security agencies and the dreaded gunmen. However, a critical assessment of the general security situation in Abia state as carried out by DAILY POST on Tuesday, showed that normalcy had returned to the state as residents have continued to attend their businesses in parts of the State.

But, as part of its measures to curb the dastardly acts of the unknown gunmen on its facilities, the Abia State Police Command has restricted the movement of vehicles around its formations in Umuahia and Aba. A tour embarked upon by our correspondent revealed that there was blockage of a lane of the dualized Bende Road in Umuahia capital city where the headquarters of the State Police Command and Central Police Station are situated. Also, a lane of the dualized Aba road in Umuahia town where the main offices of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) are situated were equally blocked to forestall further attacks on security facilities and federal assets in the state by yet-to-be-identified gunmen.

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