APC, PDP bicker over arrest of APC members

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From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa The Bayelsa State Chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are at loggerheads over the arrest of a member of the APC, Mr Ebikopoemi Bobby Ugo, over allegations of defamation.Investigations revealed that Ugo and three others, namely, Mark-Charles Gborieneni, Funkebi Atabala and Preye Bagou were invited by the Anti- Kidnapping Team of the Bayelsa State Police Command over allegations of defamation of character and conduct likely to cause breach of peace.However, before October 21st when the quartet was billed to appear before Police, they were arrested. While three of them were later released, Ugo was detained and the Police got a court order to further remand him for additional 18 days at the Okaka Medium Prisons.The APC in press statement by its publicity secretary, Doifie Buokoribo, titled,  ‘Lift The Siege on Our Members’ the APC alleged that Governor Douye Diri was “using the Bayelsa State Police Command and the “Judiciary to abuse the fundamental human rights of its members.”He said further: “The right of our members to freely and openly criticise the administration of Governor Diri is guaranteed under our democratic laws. No authority, however highly placed, has the lawful mandate to tamper with the right. If the governor feels offended, he is free to approach the courts for redress and not seek self-help.”Buokoribo who demanded a halt to the siege laid on its members stated that it was inhuman for Diri to persecute fellow Bayelsans at a time many people were displaced because of the ravaging flood.Member, representing Nembe/Brass Federal Constituency, Hon Israel Sunny- Goli, also in a statement accused the Police of turning itself into a tool of intimidation and harassment of opposition members in the state.Sunny-Goli warned that if the Commissioner of Police did not desist from being available as a tool of oppression, he would not hesitate to seek legal proceedings against him.However, the PDP in its reaction dismissed the allegations of the APC describing them as “ridiculous, unfounded and frivolous.”Ogoli maintained that the PDP-led government in the state had no hand in the arrest of Ugo whom he referred to as the social media henchman of the APC.“Our investigations revealed that the Police arrested Ebikpoemi Bobby Ugo, who is notorious for fabrication and social media bullying, over alleged defamatory and inciting false claim that the Federal Government released a sum of N150 million to the state government to tackle the ravaging flood in the state when nothing of such happened,” he said.Ogoli said instead of APC to assist its members to substantiate the “bogus claims with evidence” it has resorted to its pastime, which is mudslinging.“For the avoidance of doubt, under the watch of Senator Diri, our party has continued and will continue to respect the right of the citizenry to freedom of speech and expression in line with democratic dictates.”



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