The National Leadership of the People’s Redemption Party, (PRP) is asking the Bauchi State Police Command to immediately rein in those it calls aberrant and rogue officers from harassing its members. The radical political platform is also demanding the immediate, unconditional release of its members or it would be left with no other option than to consider all legal and constitutional means of securing the rights and liberties of its members.
The party which has already fired a petition to the Police authorities by its Bauchi State Legal Advisor says in a statement by its National Chairman, Alhaji Falau Bello that members of the party in the homestate of Sa’adu Zungur, a pioneer of the radical tradition in Northern Nigerian politics, were facing persistent, illegal and unwarranted harassment, “especially the Rapid Response Unit under the leadership of one SP Mohammed Baba Yola”.
Expatiating on the claim, Bello added that On February 14th, 2019, the said SP Mohammed Baba Yola led a team of Police men to arrest twenty two (22) leading members of the PRP in Bauchi State in the house of Alhaji Shehu Abdullahi, Wakilin Birni, who is also the Party ‘s candidate for a House of Representative seat in the election of February 16th, 2019 election.
“This is an unwarranted harassment and intimidation which is obviously a crude attempt to scuttle the efforts of the PRP to provide a credible and viable alternative for the good people of Bauchi State”, said Bello in the statement, comparing the development to similar incident to what happened to its forebears, the Northern Elements Progressive Union, (NEPU) in the First Republic. Irking the party also is the timing of the harassment, coming as it is doing on the eve of the National Assembly elections in which their candidate is held to be a leading contestant. “This cynical abuse of our security agencies to persecute partisan agendas cannot and should not be condoned or tolerated in any civilized society and certainly not in 2019”, goes the PRP.
The PRP is bound to be sensitive to police harassment, being the only one with any traces to radical roots among existing political parties in Nigeria. Although it is not a wealthy party in material terms, it has 381 candidates contesting various positions in the current elections. It is fielding governorship candidates in 17 out of 31 states where election would take place at that level, 28 senatorial candidates; 82 House of Representatives candidates and 252 state Houses of Assembly contestants. Given the popularity of some of these candidates, the perception is that status quo forces may want to intimidate them.