Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, All Progressives Congress(APC) candidate in the Rivers South East Senatorial District re-run election has called on all APC supporters across the Rivers South East Senatorial District to take whatever step necessary to defend themselves and protect their lives and property if attacked by PDP thugs and supporters.
Speaking at a Press conference in Port Harcourt, Abe said that the decision was taken after a careful review of the security situation in the district where PDP had armed their supporters with automatic rifles and dynamites.
“From today, if anybody opens fire on members of the APC anywhere in my senatorial district, there will be a response. Anybody who has two heads should bring out his second head to do whatever he wants to do within the senatorial district that would affect the lives or threaten the lives of members of the APC. We will no longer tolerate it. We are not women only. We are not children only. We are men, women and youths that are members of this party. From now on, we will defend ourselves; we will protect our members and do whatever is necessary to secure our lives and secure the lives of our members”.
Abe recalled that in Gokana, where Mr. Kenneth Kobani was arrested for disrupting the election, that hell was let loose when PDP supporters opened fire with assault rifles on everybody who was there and threw dynamites and bombs at the INEC office.
He stated that if not for the presence of soldiers, it would have got out of hand.
The former Secretary to Rivers State Government said that after the incident, armed thugs of PDP marched with their guns and dangerous weapons in B-Dere and several communities, destroying property of members of APC.
He further stated that when he heard about adequate security presence in the state for the election, he had thought that there would be checkpoints everywhere, but was surprised that only few policemen were at the INEC office while the rest of the local government area were without police presence.
“We expected that given all that have been said about the expectation of violence in Rivers State that the entire state will be in lock down, there will be checkpoints, police and soldiers everywhere, unfortunately, that did not happen. There was zero security presence. Even when it became clear that lives of INEC Adhoc Staff were being threatened and in jeopardy, nothing much was done to protect their lives not to talk of our own supporters of the APC, who have become an endangered species in Rivers State”.
Abe said despite this lawlessness, there had not been any meaningful investigation by the security agents.
He stated that in the light of this, that he was faced with two alternatives, either to withdraw or for APC members and supporters to defend themselves.
“Therefore, in the light of the present situation, we have no other option than to either withdraw from the race or call on our members to defend themselves as we go forward. Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, given the overwhelming support that I enjoy from the people of the Rivers South East Senatorial District, I cannot withdraw from the race. We are on a journey that can only end in victory because we have the people with us”.
The APC leader revealed that immediately after the shooting incident at the INEC office, that PDP thugs had the effrontery to march towards his house and open fire around the premises.
He thanked God and the policemen attached to his residence who resisted them, pointing out that it would have been a different story.
Abe narrated what he had suffered while trying to maintain peace and be a gentle man such as the burning of his building at Bori, carrying of coffin written with his name on it as well as attack on him and his supporters on three occasions during rallies.
He also mentioned the cases of attack on his supporters such as Mr. Pabbi, who was abducted in front of his family and had not been seen till today and Mr. Court, who was killed in obnoxious manner.
Abe advised Governor Nyesom Wike to direct PDP thugs to stop the destruction of billboards in Rivers South East Senatorial District and not to attack APC supporters again.
“The governor has said that he is going to start his campaign from my senatorial district. On behalf of members of APC, we welcome him and the PDP team to come and campaign in our senatorial district. Nobody should harass them and nobody should try to stop them or do anything to them. They should be allowed to carry on their own campaign. In the same vein, I want to appeal to Gov. Nyesom Wike to also appeal to his own supporters to stop the destruction of our billboards in my senatorial district. They should also stop any attack on any member of the APC in our senatorial district. People have talked about people calling for a State of Emergency. I don’t want to call for State of Emergency. But, he has his own army. It is time that he advises his army in the interest of the state, which he governs not to operate in Rivers South East Senatorial District. If they do so, our people will respond and respond overwhelmingly”.
Abe commended his supporters for believing in his principles.
“I thank our supporters who have cautioned, restrained and conducted themselves beyond measure. In the face of death and threat, they have been compelled to behave like women and children, when they obviously have the capacity to defend themselves, out of respect for me”.
“Today, I hereby call upon them to please respond in any situation where any member of our party is threatened. To please respond in any situation where any member of our party is killed. To please respond in any situation where property belonging to any member of APC in the Rivers South East Senatorial District is destroyed”.