Last Monday’s arrest of some Peoples’ Democratic Party members in Calabar, Cross River State, by operatives of the State Security Service over alleged purchase of Permanent Voter Cards has attracted the concern of the South South Secretariat of the opposition All Progressives Congress.
The APC urged the security apparatus to give details to members of the public about the identity, mission, political affiliation of the suspects and their paymasters.
The party also want the Independent National Electoral Commission, which it said should have such information available to it from the SSS, to give a satisfactory account of the matter to the public including exposing the perpetrators of the criminal purchase of the cards.
An online portal in Calabar, www.crossriverwatch.com, had reported the arrest last Monday of some suspected PVCs buyers along Marian Road in Calabar. The online outfit had reported also that the suspect were members of the “Forward Nigeria” a group championing the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan in the March 28 presidential poll.
The arrest may not be unconnected with repeated complaints by opposition parties including the state chapter of the APC of the purchase of PVCs.
The APC alleged the plan of the ruling PDP to manipulate the elections in its favour using the PVCs of most of the electorate.
However, the APC south south in a statement from the office of the Zonal Chairman of the party, Hilliard Eta and endorsed by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Bassey Ita said, “The DSS must make public the identity of the suspects as well as their paymasters and ensure their prosecution within the ambits of the law.
“While we salute the courage and display of intelligentsia by the security/intelligence agency to apprehend the suspected PVCs merchants whose intention in the purchase of the PVCs was mainly for reasons of manipulating the polls, the security agency should know that it was only unconscionable that such merchandise can become an acceptable norm in the electoral process.
“By this, it is therefore unacceptable to conceal this kind of spurious and criminal intention from public reckoning. This however calls for serious security scrutiny and prosecution by the agency at least to serve as deterrent as well as vindicate the APC of allegations which point to suspicious attempts by the ruling party to scuttle the electoral process through rigging of the coming polls.
“Exposing the suspects and bringing them to book will further affirm the intrepid disposition of the security/intelligence agency in the fight against corruption and criminality as well as win it further confidence of the public. Besides it will guarantee a stable and credible elections in the final analysis.”
The APC further indicted the leadership of the ruling PDP for masterminding the PVCs purchase in order to discredit the idea of the card readers and then arm twist INEC to resort to the use of Temporary Voter card as a trump card to rig the coming polls.
“We are aware that the suspects are members of the PDP’s Jonathan Support Group, “Forward Nigeria” disposed to the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan in the March 28 polls but if the identity of the arrest and details of the arrested persons are heard from the DSS and INEC other than us, both the DSS and the electoral umpire would take the glory of enjoying public confidence while vindicating us for keeping an eagle eye against anti-democratic and anti-people tendencies that are unleashed to rob the public of their democratic benefits.”
The statement also urge that “INEC should feed the public with a vivid account of the development so that the state REC would regain the confidence of some parties that had hitherto accused him of compromise with the ruling PDP.”