Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Election crisis: APC leadership to march on INEC, warns police against stopping it

The All Progressives Congress has announced it will stage a peaceful
procession to Independent National Electoral Commission headquarters
in Abuja on Thursday to register its disapproval of the Commission's
string of failures in conducting recent elections, including the Delta
Central Senatorial District bye-election and the 'inconclusive'
Anambra Governorship poll.
In a statement issued by its Interim National Publicity Secretary,
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party vowed to proceed with the march,
despite the illegal move by the police to stop it.
"We are doing this as a patriotic service to the nation because INEC
as presently constituted is not capable of organizing a free and fair
election again in Nigeria. If the Commission is not checked, its
incompetence and conniving acts could plunge the country into chaos of
unimaginable proportions," it said.
APC explained that ahead of the march, it wrote a letter to the FCT
police command to inform it of the planned procession and to request
for police escort to forestall a possible hijacking of the march by
sponsored hoodlums.
"To our dismay, however, the FCT Police Commissioner did not only turn
down our request for police escort but also cheekily advised us to
restrict our activity to holding a press conference within our party
headquarters to convey our grievances to INEC .
"We reject this very patronizing directive from the partisan FCT
police command and hereby states that in exercise of our
constitutional rights, the leadership of the APC will go ahead with
its planned peaceful procession on Thursday, the 28th of November, to
express our dissatisfaction with the corruption-ridden INEC and to
pass a vote of no confidence on the Commission," the party said.
It said the police should not mistake its letter to the security
agency as a request for permission to stage the procession, since the
law has said no such permission is required.
APC said, "When we wrote this letter, we were quite aware of the
ruling of the Appeal Court affirming the decision of Justice Chinyere
of the Abuja Federal High Court the in the case of All Nigeria Peoples
Party v Inspector General of Police (2006) CHR 181 which said, inter
alia: 'If as speculated by law enforcement agents that breach of the
peace would occur, our Criminal Code has made adequate provisions for
sanctions against breakdown of law and under so that the requirement
of a permit as a conditionality to holding meetings and rallies can no
longer be justified in a democratic society.'
"Being mindful of the position of the law on this issue but as a law
abiding and a patriotic political party, we nonetheless in our said
letter asked the police to provide us with escort during the
procession, in line with international best practices. That the police
turned down this request speaks volumes about its disdain for the rule
of law.
"We will not be deterred by the blatantly-partisan police, who have
missed another great opportunity to affirm their neutrality and
respect for the rule of law. We will use this march to prove the point
that we shall not condone a Police Command, however partisan or
corrupt, abridging our constitutional rights.
"While we shall do all in our powers to make Thursday's procession to
INEC as peaceful as possible, Nigerians and the entire world should
hold the FCT police command responsible for any breakdown of law and
order that may be occasioned by their unprofessional, partisan and
illegal action."

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