Alleges Persecution Of Niger Deltans
From Amos Odeh, Yenagoa
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has condemns the arrest, detention and continuous harassment of Mrs. Gesila Khan, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Rivers State by the Directorate of State Security (DSS) in respect of the conduct of the general elections in Rivers State.
This is contained in a statement issued by the Spokesman of the IYC, Comrade Eric Omare made available to The Dream Daily in Yenagoa.
The group, describe the development as the continuation of President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s resolve to persecute Niger Deltans, especially those perceived to be close to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Noting that it is on record that Mrs. Khan has meritoriously served Nigeria in different capacities without blemish, the IYC regretted that Mrs. Khan from Bayelsa State has been arrested and detained twice and subjected to continuous harassment by the DSS on the orders of President Buhari over the conduct of the general elections in Rivers State.
Lamenting her failing health condition, the IYC said the DSS has no cogent and justifiable reason for the arrest, detention and continuous harassment of Mrs. Khan, stressing that her situation has degenerated to a level that she now report from hospital and the DSS office.
Noting that “it is strange that the civil society and human right community in Nigeria are silent in the face of this threat and monumental rape of our democracy,” Omare averred that “it is unacceptable” and called “on all men of good conscience to condemn it, as it is not permissible even in the military era.”
His words: “It is unprecedented in the electoral history of Nigeria for a Resident Electoral Commissioner to be arrested, detained and subjected to continuous harassment because the ruling party failed in the state where the electoral officer served.”
According to the IYC, “we have it on good authority that the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Okojie is facing similar treatment from President Buhari’s kinsman-led DSS,” describing this as an abuse of office and threat to Nigerian’s democracy to single out Mrs. Khan and Mr. Okojie to face dehumanising treatment.
Omare posited that in a situation where the aggrieved parties have submitted their grievances to the tribunals in Rivers and Akwa Ibom States, “it amounts to trying to truncate the administration of justice for the DSS to be harassing the electoral officers who conducted the elections.”
The IYC, therefore reminded President Buhari that his resolved to persecute people from same place or close to former President Jonathan “is a venture that would not do his administration any good, on account that President Jonathan conceded defeat to allow peace reign in Nigeria and it behooves Buhari to also allow sleeping dogs lie.”
The group pointed out that “should any arrest be made, it should be Prof. Attahiru Jega and his electoral/resident commissioners who criminally rigged the Presidential election in the northern part of the country.”
The IYC reiterated that “President Buhari should know that the election that brought him to power was not in any way free and fair, and that he is a beneficiary of a massively rigged election.”
To this end, The IYC called on the DSS to stop the harassment of Mrs. Khan and any other electoral officer who served in the south-south region, “because the Niger Deltans may be forced to take their destiny into their hands.”