We’ll resist deployment of soldiers throughout by-elections– Cross River PDP

Chairman of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State, Venatius Ikem has stated that they will decline the unlawful deployment of soldiers during the by-elections in Akpabuyo state and Ogoja-Yala federal constituencies this weekend.

He spoke on the claims that Governor Ben Ayade went to the Commander of 13 Brigade of Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Everest Okoro on Thursday early morning to request for mass implementation of soldiers for the 2 by-elections obviously to offer his party self-confidence.

Attending to a news conference at the PDP workplace in Calabar, Ikem stated, “The resistance we are talking about is towards the deployment. We will object to the suitable quarters the unlawful deployment of the Army for purposes of the election when there is no need for it.

“When the release is not from the army high command. That is when the resistance will turn up.”

Ikem explained that there are legitimate methods soldiers, even other security companies can be released, describing that there is also an invalid method one can try to use them illegally to intimidate citizens.

Ikem stated that if the regulation to deploy the army comes from the Chief of Army Staff, it is genuine.

“But if it is from the guv, we will withstand,” he stated.

“I have on excellent authority that the governor went personally to meet the Brigade Commander this morning to solicit for him to release guys of the Nigerian Army for the elections. That is invalid use. He can not release the army; it is just the Chief of Army Staff that can release the army. If they have factor to believe that there are extraordinary scenarios, security situations that would require the release of the army, we (PDP) will be so informed and it will be included in the functional order due to the fact that there needs to be a security operational order outside which you can not deploy security. That is our position.”

Reacting, the Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Erasmus Ekpang, stated they have all left Calabar to magnify campaigns in the 2 locations by-elections are to hold and have no intention to request for military deployment.

The Information Officer at 13 Brigade, Captain Tope Aluko might not confirm if Ayade assured but made any request to revert to our reporter.