By Nuel Suji, Abuja.
The Rivers State chapter of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) Monday accused the First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan, of culpability in the February 17, 2015 attack on its members in Okrika, asking her to accept responsibility for the incident.
The party did not state Mrs Jonathan’s direct link to the attack by noted that the First Lady’s utterances left it in no doubt that she was the unseen hand behind the violence.
In a statement by its State Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, APC said Mrs Jonathan should accept responsibility for the recent attack on the APC gubernatorial campaign train while attempting to hold a rally in “her local government of birth, Okrika”.
“Subsequent comments and utterances by the First Lady have removed any iota of doubt that she was one of the unseen hands behind the deadly attack and disruption of APC’s campaign and the attempt on the life of our gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside,” it stated.
Adding: “Sadly, Cpl. Ifeanyi Okorie, a police officer providing security at the rally, was killed by the bullets fired by thugs acting on behalf of the First Lady and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while a Senior Correspondent of Channels Television Mr. Charles Eruka covering the rally was stabbed and many APC supporters equally wounded”.
According to Ikanya, Mrs Jonathan has since refused to show remorse for the consequences of her utterances, citing her directive while addressing market women at the PDP women rally in Cross Rivers State, barely a week later (February 25, 2015) where she was quoted as saying: “If you see anybody mentioning change, stone that person to death.”
“When the above statement was credited to the First Lady, we thought that she was being quoted out of context, but we now know better, as she has not denied the statement, two weeks after, but has rather gone ahead to make similar inciting utterances at some other rallies for PDP women, addressed by her. We can now understand why her supporters chased us out of Okrika with live bullets instead of stones as advocated,” Ikanya observed.
APC alleged that the First Lady’s instruction has been heeded, as its members were attacked with bullet and bombs, which led to the recorded casuality, stressing that it was shameful that Mrs. Jonathan was the first Nigerian First lady to be reported to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the second First Lady in Africa to be reported to the judicial body, after the former Cote D’Ivoire First Lady, Mrs. Simone Gbagbo, prior to that country’s 2010 election.
The party recalled that ICC indicted Mrs. Gbagbo for her ignoble role in planning to perpetrate brutal attacks – including murder, rape, and sexual violence, on her husband’s political opponents in the wake of the 2010 election.
The State’s Chairman of the party emphasized that it was unfortunate that such a crude language should come from the wife of a President.
Similarly, APC berated President Goodluck Jonathan, for his indifference on the attack.
The party however commended and congratulated its the “National leadership for formally reporting this ferocious lady to the ICC, the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police (IG) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)”, among others, adding that the unfolding developments were eye openers and the reason why Nigerians should shine their eyes and vote out the Jonathan administration.