As the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC plans to resume the suspended electoral process in Rivers State, the National Taskforce on the Prohibition of Illegal Importation of Small Arms, Ammunition and Light Weapons, NATFORCE, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to caution the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi over further loss of lives and properties in the state.
This is even as it called on the federal government to establish a special court to try people in possession of illegal arms and ammunition so as to free the country of criminals.
INEC had on March 10 suspended the Governorship/State Assembly elections in the state following serious reported cases of violence at polling units and collation centres in the state.
Addressing newsmen at the weekend in Abuja, Director General of NATFORCE, Dr. Osita Okereke said: “Mr. President should ensure that the interest of an individual in Rivers State does not put the lives of innocent Nigerians in danger or ruin the future of electoral process in the state”.
Apparently referring to Amaechi, who is the Director General of Buhari/Osinbajo Presidential Campaign Organization, Okereke added that “if you know that your popularity in that state has expired, you should not make the state ungovernable for the government and people of that state”.
He said President Buhari should know that Amaechi is not working for his interest, but for himself, adding that there were a lot of injustice in Rivers State that should be corrected by the president so as to maintain his integrity.
“I am a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, but I don’t support injustice. That minister is not helping the president at all.
“Mr. President is a man of integrity and does not need to kill people before ruling the country. He didn’t order people to be killed during his own election, why will he now allows some people to kill in his name.
“He owns the country at the moment and every governor whether in party A or B are answerable to him. So he should caution that man so as not to further heat the polity”, Okereke stressed.
He, however, called on the INEC to involve NATFORCE in dealing with security situation in Rivers State whenever it resume electoral process in the state.
“As INEC prepares to conduct election in Rivers state, we want to plead with the commission to carry our agency along in the conduct of the election for the purposes of ensuring that the ugly incident that marred the initial effort to have a free and fair election in that state is not repeated again”, he said.
According to him, NATFORCE has “already identified the hideouts of criminals and where their dangerous weapons are hidden across the country.
The director general also sought collaboration with the Nigerian Army and Police to retrieve the illegal arms and ammunition in the hands of political thugs”before it is too late”.
Okereke maintained that it was only through such collaboration that the illegal weapons could be recovered urgently to save the country from growing incidences of Boko Haram, kidnapping and killings.
He specifically appealed to the leadership of National Assembly to expedite action on the passage of a Bill for an Act to establish the National Commission for the Prohibition of Illegal Importation of Small Arms Ammunition and Light Weapons, and other related matters, initiated by him and sponsored by Senator Suleiman Nazif, PDP-Bauchi North.
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