According to a press release by lawyer and activist, Mr Festus Keyamo, the Commissioner of Police in Imo State, Mohammed Katsina, ordered the arrest and detention of 120 accredited independent national electoral commission observers who are to observe the Anambra State Governorship election taking place this Saturday. Find the press release below…
We have been briefed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) of the following facts:
1. That on Monday, 11th of November, 2013, and Tuesday, 12th of November, 2013, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission conducted training for accredited independent election observers who are to observe the Anambra State gubernatorial election scheduled for Saturday, 16th November, 2013.
2. That on Thursday, November 14th, 2013, the accredited observers who participated in the training above, met at Disyne Hotel located at Owerri, Imo State, for further training of their members ahead of the Anambra State gubernatorial election scheduled for Saturday, 16th November, 2013.
3. That to the utmost dismay of the innocent and patriotic election observers, at about 2:00pm, the hotel where they were undergoing training was surrounded by heavily armed police officers acting on the instruction of Mohammed Katsina, Commissioner of Police, Imo State, who arrested the entire 120 persons undergoing training.
5. That the entire accredited observers are currently in detention at the Imo State Police Command for no offence.
We however, cannot fathom or comprehend the rationale behind the actions or decisions of Mohammed Katsina, Commissioner of Police, Imo State, mentioned above, as same are totally untenable in a civilized and democratic society.
We cannot imagine why accredited election observers, who were specifically trained by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission, to observe/monitor the Anambra State gubernatorial election, should be arrested and detained less than 24 hours to the election.
We think that this is one of the grand plots to rig the Anambra State gubernatorial election scheduled for tomorrow by crippling genuine election observers and allowing fake observers to observe the process.
In the light of the above, we call on the Inspector General of Police to order the immediate release of the 120 accredited independent election observers currently in detention at the Imo State Police Command so they can perform their patriotic duties tomorrow.