The Ondo State chapter of the African Action Congress has revealed how members of the party were abducted by officers of the Nigerian Army during the August 22 local government election in the state.
AAC in a statement on Thursday said the six members, who were abducted in Ajagba, Ese Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, were physically and emotionally tortured and detained for four days by soldiers attached to the 33 Brigade Artillery, Akure.
The statement reads, “The public will recall that the Ondo State Chapter of African Action Congress raised the alarm on the 22nd of August, 2020 of the abduction of some of our members in Ajagba, Ese Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, by security operatives during the Ondo State Council Election.
"After unsuccessfully searching for them at police stations within their jurisdiction, we proceeded to checking army barracks in Okitipupa, and later the army barracks in Akure for them. At some point, we assumed the abductors were militants, as there was no traces of them security in facilities.
“However, to our surprise and anguish, some soldiers of the Nigerian Army attached to the 33 Brigade Artillery, Akure, brought the innocent Nigerians to Criminal Investigation Department at the headquarters of Nigeria Police Force in Akure on Wednesday, 26th of August, 2020, after four days of locking them up in an unknown gaurdroom within the army barracks in Akure.
“The six whose only offence was being responsible citizens, who wanted to exercise their civil rights to vote and defend it, were subjected to physical and emotional torture during the four days of their abduction.
"For the whole of the four days they were kept in a dark and cold room, where sun could not penetrate. Their legs were chained in twos. They were not allowed to bath for the four days. For any of them to defecate, two people who were chained together must walk some distance to the spot where one will defecate. Furthermore, they were harassed with guns and tortured by the military officers.
“Afterwards, they were brought to the CID at the Nigeria Police headquarters in Akure where they were further detained till today, Thursday, 27th of August, 2020 for no just course, and were financial exploited in order to secure their freedom.”
The party wondered why security operatives paid to protect the country and secure the people were same instruments oppressing and dehumanising them.
“The African Action Congress therefore demands an explanation from the Nigerian Army and also the Commander in Chief of Armed Forces how instruments of the state, which are expected to protect the state and secure the people, are the very instruments oppressing and dehumanising the people; isn't that a feature of a failed state?
“We know that all these events are not unconnected to the inordinate ambition of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to secure a second term at all costs. As we have seen in the just concluded Ondo State Council Election, we experienced, firsthand how Governor Akeredolu unleashed terror on citizens of Ondo State, and massively rigged the elections in order to ensure all candidates presented by APC won in all the councils. In Ajagba, AAC candidate won at the polling units but unfortunately APC was declared winner at the coalition centre by ODIEC.
“The electorate protested this and the response was the abduction of these electorate. Without doubt, we believe this is what the APC and governor Akeredolu are planning for the forthcoming gubernatorial election. Arakunrin Akeredolu and his APC cohorts (either at national or state level) will fail.
“AAC will ensure it gets justice for the unjustly treated fellows, our party, Ondo State people and Nigeria at large using all legal means at our disposal because injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. Nigeria must receive sanity by all means.”