The National Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), Barrister Julius Abure has raised the alarm over the safety of the leaders, candidates and members of the party following increasing killing, several assaults and harassment perpetrated against supporters of the party.
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 expressed grief 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.
He said the attacks are now too many for comfort and worrisome.
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 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 responsibility of his arrest. This was after days of his incarcaration, he is now released without any charges.
“The billboards of all our candidates across the country are being pulled down and destroyed. There are series of attack on the party members and leaders across the country, and the mother of it all, is the murder of this our candidate in Imo State.
“We are using this opportunity to call on Mr. President, security agencies, especially the Police and DSS to protect Labour Party, its leaders and members.
“Election is not a do 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, opposition is the soul of democracy. If there is no opposition then of course, there is no democracy. Therefore government in power must not only protect those in government but also opposition party members.
“As at 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 with the series of attack on the Labour Party members, it 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 being killed, viable contestants being killed, including their supporters, it means that democracy is under threat.
“Those in government swore to uphold the constitution, I 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.