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APC dismayed at election observers' detention

20 November 2013, 16:17

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 observers.

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 stated.


 – CAJ News


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