ABUJA, August 11, (THEWILL) – Senator Magnus Abe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) has expressed anger over the arrest and detention of some eminent politicians loyal to the State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
Abe, who spoke to reporters on Sunday in Abuja, listed those being held illegally at the Medium Security Prison, Kuje, Abuja (FCT) as Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Omuma Local Government Area, Mr. Charles Amaefule and Assistant State Secretary of the Ake faction of PDP in the state, Mr. Leo Anyanwu.
He lamented that Amaefule and Anyanwu were picked up by the police in the state without the knowledge of their respective families, taken to a magistrate court in Abuja and arraigned on a six-count charge of misrepresentation.
Abe’s worry was that the alleged offence for which Amaefule and Anyanwu were forcibly taken to Abuja for and dumped in Kuje prison could have been handled within the Rivers State Jurisdiction.
“I am here (Kuje Prison) today because I am actually very concerned about what is happening to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“A few days ago, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Omuma Local Government Area, one of the local government areas in Rivers State, Mr. Charles Amaefule and the Assistant State Secretary of the Ake faction of the PDP in Rivers State, Mr. Leo Anyanwu, were kidnapped by the Police and it was only yesterday that we learnt they were brought to Abuja and taken to a Magistrate Court and charged with six-count charge of misrepresentation and remanded in Kuje Prison.
“The foundation of this matter was that one of the five Honourable members in Rivers State House of Assembly who attempted to impeach the Speaker by force and overthrow the government of Rivers State by force, wrote a petition to the Police and the petition was forwarded to whoever and however it happened and Policemen were dispatched to Rivers State to kidnap these young men, brought them to Abuja and they are now remanded in prison.
“So, as we speak, there are political prisoners in Nigeria today. That is what this means because the offense to which they are charged has no relationship whatsoever with the Federal Capital Territory.
“The allegation that by making an announcement, suspending the Honourable members, they have incited violence or committed impersonation or whatever, are things that ordinarily by common sense and by the operation of the Constitution, would have been tried in Port Harcourt and handled there,” he said.
“We were in panic for over 48 hours before the information came that they had been charged to court in Abuja.
“So, I don’t know whether we as citizens are watching what is happening in this country. It is not about Governor Amaechi, it is not about Rivers State, it is about the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“If they are doing it today in Rivers State and we don’t say anything, nobody says it is wrong, tomorrow, even some of the people who are doing these things, would themselves need the protection of the constitution.
“And I think that all Nigerians without exception, from the President to each and everyone of us must be careful about what happens to the Constitution of this country and what happens to the rights and privileges that we are supposed to enjoy as citizens of a democratic nation.
“What is happening here in Kuje Prison today is totally unacceptable. As I am talking to you now, there are political prisoners in this country and I don’t think we should allow this kind of thing to go unchallenged.”
Asked why he claimed the affected persons were kidnapped, the senator faulted the procedure of their arrest saying, they should have been informed of their offenses.