13th August, 2010
The Rivers State Government, South-South Nigeria, has reiterated that the reason behind the arrest of 12 persons at 25 Ohaeto in D/Line Port Harcourt and arraigned in court was not because of politics but because of security concerns.
The government, through Mr. Magnus Abe, the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, said it cannot allow the state to plunge into the dark days of cultism and cult-related activities in the guise of politics.
Abe alleged that some of the persons arrested and their sponsors were once suspended from the university for cult-related activities and were linked with the sponsorship of some of the proscribed cult groups in the state.
The SSG said that the state is yet to recover from the effect cult induced gang wars that swept through some villages like Okuraâ€“Ama in the state.
He said that the state government is not aware of any parallel People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the state.
He said that the state government allows freedom of association even from those opposed to the government, but would not compromise its hard earned security of lives.
However, Jerry Needam, the spokesman for the PDP splinter group had said that those who were arrested were members of a faction of the state PDP and not cultists as alleged by the government.
According to Needam, â€œthey cannot intimidate us. We have the right to meet. Those arrested are members of a faction of PDP who were meeting because of President Goodluck Jonathan 2011 Project.â€
Meanwhile, the 12 accused persons have been arraigned before Chief Magistrate I.O. Agbosor of Chief Magistrate Court 4, Rivers State.
Each of them was granted bail in the sum of N500,000 with one surety who must be a civil servant of grade level 15 residing in the state as well as four passports and landed property in the state capital.
â€”Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt