18th October, 2011
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has blamed the intolerance exhibited by Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue state and his henchmen for the violence that rocked the Logo Local Government Area of the state, leaving many dead and several houses burnt.
In a statement issued in Osogbo, Osun State, on Tuesday, the party also accused the governor of lacking the capability to maintain peace in the state, which led to the killing of two ACN chieftains and the reprisal attacks that followed.
It said contrary to the concocted story by the governor, the violence followed the killing of two prominent members of the community, who had been seen as sympathetic to the ACN by the PDP machinery in the state.
”In fact, the Chairman of the local government has reportedly threatened to deal with one of the men who was later killed, apparently because he was perceived as a thorn in the flesh of the PDP in the area. Shortly after the threat, on 13 October, arsonists burnt down the trucks belonging to the man. Three days later, the man himself was shot dead, along with his brother.
”The governor tried to explain away the dastardly killing of these men by saying one of them was a money lender who was attacked by those who are not happy with him. How can a governor, who is the Chief Security Officer of his state, try to justify such extra-judicial killings?” ACN queried.
The party said the violence that broke out after the killings were inevitable, while condemnable, because people are bound to react when they see what looks and smells like state-sponsored killings.
It said the killing of the men was the latest in a series of actions aimed at intimidating and decimating the ACN in Benue, because the PDP government in the state thinks it can employ that strategy to drive the party’s members and supporters underground.
”Gov. Suswam needs to undertake a crash course in how democracy functions. That will open his eyes to the fact that opposition is part and parcel of this chequered system of government, and make him realise that seeking to decimate the opposition can only breed anarchy, the type of which Benue has been embroiled in since the PDP stole ACN’sÂ mandate at the polls,” ACN said.
The party said while its members and supporters are peace loving people, they will not allow themselves to be intimidated by anyone.
”It should be pretty clear to Governor Suswam by now that his tactics of harassment and intimidation of the opposition in the state are not working, otherwise the 13 May, 2011 killing of Charles Ayede, Senior Media Adviser to our governorshipÂ candidate in Benue (Professor Steve Torkuma Ugbah), should have silenced the ACN in the state.
”The execution-style killing of an unarmed Nigerian in his own country, as depicted by the gory pictures of Ayede’s bullet-ridden body, was meant to send a chilling message to ACN members and supporters in the state. But it has achieved the opposite:Â strengthening the resolve of our members to wrest control of the state from impostors through lawful means,” ACN said.