*15 Arrested For Various Electoral Offences*
The Collation Officer for the Presidential election in Rivers State and Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Prof Charles Adias has raised the alarm of threats to his life by supporters and members of the Labour Party, LP.
Prof Adias stated this while reacting to comments by the state collation agent of the Labour Party, Deinye Pepple during the collation of results for the election at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Port Harcourt on Monday.
Mr. Pepple while making observers had faulted some results turned, but lauded the collation officer for Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA, saying, “All the results he presented tallies with what I have from the polling units.”
In a swift response, Prof Adias called the attention of Mr. Pepple to what some supporters and members of his party were up to.
“I have been receiving calls from supporters of your party. Even as I am here my phone is full of test messages of your party people threatening to kill me and do all sort of things.
“They are saying I am here to rig the elections. I advise that if you have issues, go to your polling units.”
Prof Adias stated that he will carry out the national assignment that he has been assigned by INEC to do, urging overzealous party members to know where and how to channel their grievances if need be.
“As academics, our duty is to teach and serve society and that is exactly what we are doing and we will continue to do our job,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in charge of the elections in Rivers State, Adeoye Aderemi has warned politicians and party faithful to desist from inciting citizens in order not to cause a breakdown of law and order.
Aderemi said there has been several fake news going about in the social media and advised members of the public to be weary of such messages.
“We will not tolerate is anyone playing on the intelligence of the people to incite them to violence, will not accept that.
“We have seen mobilization on social media and calling people to revolt.
“While those inciting them sit in the comfort of their homes, they cannot escape the long arms of the law. The author of one inciting document have be invited for interrogation and if found culpable will be charged to court promptly. Nobody is above the law and no one is allowed to take the law into his or her hands. We will not be tools of intimidation or oppression.
“We will always protect the interest the citizenry at every turn but will not condone any citizen no matter how highly placed taking the law into his hand or arrogating to his or herself the right to decide the fate of Rivers people it will never happen and we will never condone it.
“We are in every nook and cranny any part in the state. If any group chooses to test our will, they will live to regret it. It is not a threat, it is a promise and we have the capacity to maintain law and order.”
Aderemi ueges residents to embrace peace, adding that about 15 persons have so far been arrested for various election offences.
“We have a few suspects in custody arrested for various electoral offenses. And if you add the serving personnel to them the figure run to 15 that are being interrogated for one electoral malpractice or the other including snatching of BVAS machine.
“Many of which have been recovered, including holding people hostage, all of whom we have rescued without loss of life. So, these are the statistics. We are doing a lot but we avoid heating up the polity.”