Political Killings: Party Leaders, Candidates No Longer Safe, Says Abure

...Wants IG to intervene over his denial of police protection

… says democracy is under threat.

The National Chairman of the Labour Party, Barrister Julius Abure has cried out over the safety of the leaders, candidates and members of the party over increasing killings, several assaults and harassment perpetrated at its supporters. He said the attacks are now too many and worrisome.

The party chairman also said his request for police protection has been largely snubbed even when leaders and candidates of other political parties move around with detachment of police aides and escorts.

In a statement on Saturday, the LP chairman who is saddened over the death of another candidate of the party, Christopher Elehu in the hands of gunmen suspected to be hired killers on Friday, recalled the recent killing of a Woman leader of the party in Kaduna state of which no one has been charged to court two months after.

Barrister Julius Abure

The late Elehu was the Labour Party (LP) candidate for Onuimo Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly. Apart from killing him, the gunmen also set his country home ablaze and destroyed his property.

Barrister Abure said, “The increased attack on Labour Party members and faithful is now alarming. Just a few weeks ago, our women leader in Kaura, Kaduna state was murdered in cold blood with the husband sustaining injuries and still in the hospital. About six weeks ago the senatorial candidate of our party in Ebonyi State was kidnapped after police took the responsibility for his arrest. This was after days of his incarceration, he is now released without any charges.

“The billboards of all our candidates across the country are being pulled down and destroyed. There is a series of attacks on the party members and leaders across the country, and the mother of it all is the murder of this candidate in Imo State.

“We are using this opportunity to call on Mr. President, security agencies, especially the Police and DSS protect Labour Party, its leaders and its members.

“Election is not ado-or-die matter. The government must ensure that a level playing field must be created for all political parties, both those in power and those not in power. Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the blessed memory, once said the opposition is the soul of democracy. If there is no opposition of course, there is no democracy. Therefore government in power must not only protect those in government but also opposition party members.

“A soft today, a lot of our candidates have no police protection, even me as the National Chairman, all my application to have police that was approved, yet none has been drafted to me. As the Chairman of one of the most popular political parties, I still do not have security assigned to me. Our officers are exposed, our members are exposed and with the high level of insecurity now, we have become very vulnerable.

“So we are calling on the President to use his good office as well as security agencies to secure Labour Party, all its candidates, party members and supporters so that we can have a hitch-free election.

“This is important because, the series of attacks on the Labour Party members, shows that there might never be a hitch-free election. It is a serious threat to democracy. Democracy offers the citizens the opportunity to make choices and vote for candidates of their choice, so when they are been harassed, their leaders are killed, and viable contestants are killed, including their supporters, it means that democracy is under threat.

“Those in government swore to uphold the constitution, therefore call on those in government to provide security across, so that our democracy will not be in jeopardy. It would not be in the interest of anyone, particularly those who will be in government tomorrow to allow the democracy to be threatened”, he said.