Imo - All Progressives Congress (APC) has condemned the
continued detention of 182 election observers who were arrested in Imo State
two days before last Saturday's chaotic governorship election in Anambra State.
The opposition party described the detention as “totally
inexplicable and unjustifiable” as the Independent National Electoral
Commission had publicly said the arrested were duly certified election
The observers face charges of conspiracy to commit
misdemeanor, unlawful assembly and conduct likely to breach peace.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by its
Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the APC expressed
shock at what it said was the brazen contempt of court displayed by the police
after the observers were brought before a Magistrate on Monday.
“'Having brought the alleged suspects before a
Magistrate, one would have expected that the Imo police command will allow the
judicial process to follow its due course. Rather, men and officers of the
police command acted in a manner that tainted the entire Nigeria police and
called to question their motive for arresting the innocent observers in the
first instance,” stated Mohammed.
He said before the case was called, the police suddenly
seized and took away some of the suspects. When this came to the knowledge of
the lawyers representing the observers, they raised it with the presiding
magistrates, who ruled that the court would stand the matter down for two hours
so that the remaining suspects could be produced before the court.
Mohammed alleged that “shockingly” the Officer in Charge
(Legal), acting on “orders from above” brought out a gun and ordered equally
gun-wielding men to forcefully return all the accused to the police cell.
It is alleged that this happened in the presence of the
presiding magistrate and other lawyers.
The case has been adjourned to December 6.
“Ultimately, the police that is a creation of the law
succeeded is thwarting the cause of justice. It is a shame that the police
decided to bring the hallowed chamber of the Magistrate Court and indeed the
entire judiciary into ridicule with a view to denying the suspects their right
to being granted bail. 'It is clear that the Gestapo style exhibited by the
police, acting on the ever-nebulous 'orders from above', was done so they can
continue to detain, intimidate and harass the Observers, whose only offence is
that they are from Osun State, perceived by the PDP as an enemy state,” APC
– CAJ News