The Ijaw National Congress has condemned the arrest and arraignment of the lawmaker representing Degeme/Bonny Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Farah Dagogo, on the orders of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
The apex Ijaw socio-cultural organisation said Wike’s action amounted to political persecution of an Ijaw son, who is a governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, adding that the continued detention of Dagogo was a violation of his fundamental human rights.
The President of INC, Prof Benjamin Okaba, stated this in a statement titled, ‘Arrest of Hon. Farah Dagogo: Political persecution of an Ijaw son’, which he issued in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Saturday.
Okaba berated Wike for Dagogo’s ordeal and described the governor’s allegations that the federal lawmaker hired cultists to disrupt the PDP screening exercise at the party’s zonal secretariat in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, as phantom and flimsy.
He said, “The illegal arrest and detention of Hon. Farah Dagogo, a governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, is an orchestrated design by Governor Wike’s administration to persecute the Ijaws who are resolved to come together to contest the governorship of Rivers State.
“May we ask: when did the constitutionally guaranteed right to contest an election become a crime? As a former Minister of State in the President Goodluck Jonathan-led federal administration, did the then Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, who had become an All Progressives Congress chieftain, threaten or ever arrested and illegally detained Wike even though they were at loggerheads? When did Rivers State become the private empire of Governor Wike that indigenes need permission from him to decide their individual political future?
“The INC is particularly miffed at the trumped-up charges against Hon. Farah Dagogo that he hired cultists to disrupt the PDP screening exercise, which was presided over by his governor-colleague, Senator Douye Diri of Bayelsa State. Did Governor Diri ever call him (Wike) that their lives were under threat on account of the invading cultists? Did the well-fortified security apparatus of Governor Diri call for security reinforcement because of Governor Wike’s imaginary marauding cultists?
“What on earth justifies this premeditated political onslaught against Hon. Farah Dagogo and the Rivers Ijaws? Was the mission essentially to deny him screening so that he would not have a chance to contest the governorship election against other opponents?”
The Ijaw nation leader, therefore, demanded the unconditional release of Dagogo within 48 hours, stressing that the governor’s politics of succession should be all-inclusive and not exclude the Ijaws’ interest in Rivers State in the 2023 elections.
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