By CrossRiverWatch Admin
Following the gestapo styled takeover of the building which housed the secretariat of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State by policemen and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by a former PDP State Chairman, Edim Inok, CrossRiverWatch has compiled statements issued by all parties involved and from strange quarters too.
The owner of the property, the People’s Democratic Party, the All Progressives Congress and the Cross River State command of the Nigerian Police Force all issued statements.
Dozens of armed security officials provided cover for workers who stripped the building of flags of the PDP and immediately repainted it into the green, white and blue colors of the APC.
As the takeover was being carried on, the landlord issued the following statement to CrossRiverWatch.
“My attention has been drawn to the fact that the property situate at 42A Murtala Muhammad Highway, Calabar which PDP holds as tenant is presently being painted with APC colours.
“On behalf of the Estate of E.A Lawrence and myself as the administrator, I hereby state that PDP’s tenancy with the family is still subsisting and they remain my legal and recognised tenant.
“APC has never approached me for any such agreement so I am surprised to know of this development.”
Lawrence Ene Asuquo
Shortly after, the Police issued a statement which took many by surprise especially with the grammar.
“The attention of the Nigeria Police has been drawn to plans by some individuals / group to disrupt the renovation work going on at a building on No:42 (a) along the Murtala Mohammed Highway Calabar.
“For the avoidance of doubt the property is a rented property, that “Tenancy” is not in ‘Contention.’
“As a responsible Command, we will not sit back and watch any Person(s) come to disrupt the relative peace we have worked tirelessly to achieve. All are warned to maintain Peace, Law and Order.
“The current situation is a wake up call to Men of Character to rise up (and) put resources together to put up a structure that will not be contentious in future.
“The Cross River Police Command will not hesitate to deal decisively (with) any unlawful action with the full weight of the law.”
Signed : DSP Irene Ugbo
Police Public Relations officer,
Cross River State Police Command
For Commissioner of Police.
Next, it was the People’s Democratic Party.
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE PDP CARETAKER COMMITTEE CROSS RIVER STATE IN REACTION TO THE TRESPASS AND FORCEFUL TAKEOVER OF THE CROSS RIVER STATE PDP STATE SECRETARIAT BY GOVERNOR BEN AYADE
“This morning armed policemen cordoned off the Cross River State PDP secretariat at 42 Murtala Mohammed Highway, Calabar, and created cover for thugs from the Governor Ben Ayade faction of the APC to invade the PDP state secretariat with the intention of converting the property to the state secretariat of the APC. Currently properties of the PDP, especially vital documents and records of the party, that have been built up for over twenty years are either vandalised, destroyed or in the custody of Governor Ben Ayade. Members of the newly constituted PDP state Caretaker committee have been prevented from accessing the property by APC thugs and men of the Nigerian police. The building is currently being painted in the colors of the APC.
“Accordingly, we vehemently protest this primitive invasion of the PDP secretariat by the APC on the instructions of Governor Ben Ayade. PDP has a subsisting tenancy over the property. We have the tenancy agreements and receipts evidencing payment of the rent for the current tenure in respect of the property. The lessor of the property has clarified that the tenancy of the PDP in respect of 42A Murtala Mohammed Highway is still subsisting. Protesting the primitive action of the APC, the Lessor lamented: “I understand that the property is right now being painted with APC colors and I am calling to say that I have no agreement whatsoever with APC. I hereby state that PDP’S tenancy is still subsisting and they remain my legal and recognised tenant.”
“This invasion amounts to criminal trespass, malicious damage to property, and constitutes conduct likely to lead to a breach of the public peace. We are surprised that it is Governor Ayade, who has the constitutional responsibility, as chief security officer of the state, for maintaining law and order, that is promoting this type of dubious and vicious conduct. When the ordinary man on the street copies this behaviour and moves into any house or property that catches his fancy, including Governor Ayade’s newly acquired sprawling properties in Cross River state, we hope this will be taken as political fair game.
“The conduct of the APC is a new level of low in Nigerian politics. This action is inciteful and vendetta driven. The PDP delivered the mandate of the people of Cross River state to Governor Ayade firstly as a senator, and twice as governor. While we respect Governor Ayade’s political choices, we state that he has no right to impede the peaceful conduct of the affairs of law-abiding citizens of Cross River State, including the organisation of any political party.
“We therefore call on the leadership of the APC in Cross River State, and the national leadership of the APC, to reject Governor Ayade’s infantile behaviour and allow the PDP the peaceful occupation and use of its property. We also demand the return of all documents, property and equipment removed from the PDP secretariat by the APC. We believe that President Mohammadu Buhari can encourage Governor Ayade to respect law and order and desist from conduct that further exacerbates the security situation in the country.
“Finally, we believe that Governor Ayade is missing an opportunity by not acquiring a new building for his faction of the APC in the state. Doing so will be his opportunity to at least complete a project in Cross River state during the lifetime of his administration.
Mr. Effiok Cobham
Chairman, PDP Caretaker Committee
Cross River State
And, finally, the APC responded. But, it did not come from the caretaker committee, it came from the spokesman to Governor Ben Ayade.
Former PDP secretariat is a rented property, rent renewed 3 months ago by Governor Ayade who has decamped to APC
“The attention of Cross River state government and the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC has been drawn to a poorly scripted statement by the caretaker committee of the dead and now buried Peoples Democratic party, PDP in the state.
“The statement is nothing but a tissue of lies and a cocktail of fraudulent claims.
“Obviously, this leadership of the PDP led by Efiok Cobham is driven by greed, avarice and laziness. It is tactless and clueless leadership.
“The puerile statement was an infantile attempt to mislead the public and whip up undeserved public sympathy. But Cobham and his gang failed woefully.
“First, the said property is a rented property which is not owned by the PDP.
“It will interest the public to know that the rent for the said property was only renewed three months ago by the same PDP that has now totally collapsed into the APC.
“The same former officials of the PDP who occupied the property when it was secretariat of the PDP are the persons still occupying it having switched allegiance and moved to the APC with the governor.
“So, the claim by Cobham of forceful entry is fraudulent and criminal and should be ignored.
“His claim that the PDP still has tenancy rights over the property is pathetic. Pathetic because Cobham failed to realise that the same person who renewed the rent just three months ago has moved to the APC.
“If Barrister Cobham is not hiding behind a finger by claiming that the rent was paid by his party, let him name any member of the PDP as constituted today that either contributed or single handedly paid the rent.
“Rather than fight over what does not belong to it, we will advise the shell-shocked and lame duck PDP to look elsewhere to situate their secretariat.”
Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to Governor.
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