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Akwa Ibom traditional rulers task INEC, security agencies on neutrality

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[FILE] Uyo, Akwa Ibom. Photo/Akwa Ibom

Worried by the influx of thugs into Akwa Ibom State, traditional rulers in the state have cautioned against any acts of violence, as the gubernatorial and state House of Assembly elections inch closer.

They charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the police and other security agencies to remain neutral during the exercise.

They stated this in communiqué issued after its emergency meeting in Uyo yesterday under the aegis of Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs, presided over by Paramount Ruler of Ini Local Government Area and Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs, Edidem Ntoeng Udo Effiong Akpan.

He was represented by Paramount Ruler of Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, Edidem Udo Joe Ntuk Obom Xll.

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They urged INEC to ensure free, fair, credible, transparent and acceptable elections, adding that the Police, Army and other security agencies should ensure impartiality in their security support and coverage of the elections.

The council also admonished Akwa Ibom people to maintain peace and order and directed all traditional rulers to take the message of peace to their clans, villages, hamlets and domains.

At the meeting, the traditional rulers affirmed support for Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel for a second term, after which the governorship position would shift to Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial district in 2023 in line with the state’s unity accord.

They lamented the desperate moves to import thugs and hoodlums into the state by the opposition party, adding: “The infantile and mercantile approach towards grabbing power at all cost, has become very worrisome.

“Suffice it to say that politics is not a do or die affair, we want to advise members of the opposition party to understand that power belongs to God and he gives it to whoever he pleases.”

Meanwhile, suspected thugs arrested allegedly on their way from Edo State to Akwa Ibom ahead of Saturday’s elections are currently kept at the police headquarters in Ikot Akpan Abia, Uyo.

Some men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), including a cousin of Senator Godswill Akpabio, Supol Idorenyin Akpabio, were securing the suspected thugs when The Guardian’s correspondent visited the station.

The buses in which they were intercepted were also cited parked behind the conference hall at the police headquarters in Ikot Akpan Abia.

They were arrested on Tuesday night at Obot Akara Local Government Area between Akwa Ibom and Abia states, with the manifest bearing their names, phone numbers and next of kin.

During a recent visit of National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole to Akwa Ibom, he had vowed to deploy everything at the party’s disposal to ensure that APC emerges victorious during Saturday’s polls.

Efforts to speak with the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Odiko Mcdon failed, as he did not pick his calls and was also absent during a visit to his office.

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