Monday, September 1, 2003

Withdrawal of police: I resign myself to God Okadigbo

By Suleiman Mohammed

Vice Presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Dr. Chuba Okadigbo said he has resigned himself to God since the federal government decided to withdraw security personnels attached to him.

Dr. Okadigbo said in a statement in reaction to the recent withdrawal of police orderlies to certain categories of persons, that the action was detrimental to the safety of lives of personalities in the country.

The former Senate President declared; "I vividly recall the June 2, 2002 invasion of the Apo mansion where I resided as President of the Senate and from where I opposed the totalitarian tendencies of General Obasanjo. More than 250 mobile policemen came to abduct and/or kill me. Now that they expose me to further danger, I resign myself to the mercy of Almighty God."

He said Nigerians should hold the president and the Inspector-General (IGP) responsible for any disgrace, damage or assassination of himself or any member of his immediate family "or raid upon my property."

Dr. Okadigbo who recalled the assassinations of former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige, ANPP chieftain, Chief Marshall Harry and robbery attacks on prominent Nigerians, described the government decision as alarming "especially when it is considered that the prime victims are the opponents of the men in Aso Rock."

The ANPP Vice-Presidential candidate said where and when public figures are bereft of protection, by the state, "they are vulnerable to attack by criminals and even by police and security agents themselves."

"There are strong indications that Nigeria under Obasanjo is moving rather hurriedly to fascism. Nigerians should know that in fascism, official assassinations and violent intimidation of opponents, by police and security agents, are rampant. Nevertheless, it is still the duty of government to guarantee the security of life and property of all citizens and visitors," Dr. Okadigbo said.

He said irrespective of status, anything can happen to any one in Nigeria, saying our streets, schools, homes, places of work and even farmers are abysmally short of security, as never before in Nigerian history. "Too many Rambos have been let loose, no thanks to mass unemployment and mass property.

According to him, former president, former heads of state, former vice-presidents, senate presidents, speakers and their deputies, judges, and principal officers of the National Assembly deserves police and security protection without begging for it.