The Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, on Monday, said the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, must be sacked immediately for what it described as culpable negligence of duty due to alleged failure to arrest those responsible for the attack on its Spokesperson, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, on January 14.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos, the Coalition’s National Co-Spokesperson, Mr Mark Adebayo, CUPP frowned at the attitude of Police authorities over the attack on Mr Ikenga which led to three deaths including his paternal uncle.
Adebayo said despite the attack, “the coalition still remains confident that its spokesperson, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere would win his House of Representatives election for Ideato Federal Constituency of Imo state on February 25, 2023 despite the carnage unleashed on him.”
The coalition said: “As it has been widely reported in the media, it is public knowledge that the house of my colleague, the leading opposition spokesperson for the past four years, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, located in Akokwa in Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo state was brutally attacked by armed terrorists suspected to be state-sponsored hoodlums on January 14, 2023.
“First, CUPP profoundly appreciates the overwhelming solidarity from all across Nigeria and the Diaspora in the aftermath of the carnage unleashed on Ikenga’s country home killing his uncle and at least two other innocent Nigerians whose only crime was being supporters and a relative of Ikenga Ugochinyere. Up till this morning, I have been receiving calls from many Nigerians home and abroad who are eager to know about the safety of Ikenga. I wish to assure you all that he is in good spirits being the courageous fighter that he is. In due course, he will speak to Nigerians to address germane national issues as he is wont. Another question that a lot of people have been asking me is what has become of his running for the House of Representatives. I want to answer that unequivocally – Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere is firmly in the race no matter what agents of destruction have done and he will win.
“It is because of his decision to honor the memory of those murdered in his house that he has decided to temporarily suspend his campaign and public activities. The show of support by his community, the entire Ideato Federal Constituency people, the entire Imo state people and far beyond has been overwhelming and CUPP wishes to let you know that he remains strong in the race and is poised to win by a wide margin. In that Federal Constituency, no other candidate of any other Party has the presence, popularity and acceptability that Ikenga has. It’s like he is the only one on the ballot.
“It is extremely baffling and disappointing that 10 days after those hired terrorists carried out their horrific attacks against Ikenga, no arrests have been made despite overwhelming evidence as to who could have planned, sponsored, and executed that carnage.
“Let us make it clear that the CUPP stands by our earlier allegation that the Imo state government is culpable in this death and destruction that occurred that fateful January 14 day at Akokwa. The plan was to assassinate Ikenga but God surpassed them.
“It is more disappointing and much painful that the Nigeria Police have refused to play their constitutional role of arresting the suspected sponsors of that crime despite establishing indubitable premafacie evidence against the suspect who openly threatened Ikenga that he would deal with him among other severe threats on phone.
“A petition to that effect was sent to the police authorities but without any action, until that fatal arson was carried out and even till now the suspect, an aide to a state governor, who called Ikenga Ugochinyere on his phone to threaten his life and family days before the heinous attack is still walking free and boasting about that he would not rest until Ikenga is finally silenced. A premafacie evidence of threat to life and property has been established against the suspect prior to the actual execution of the arson, murders and attempted assassination of Ikenga. No action was taken by the Police to prevent the suspect from carrying out his threats and the Police have not deemed it fit to invite this suspected murderer and arsonist after he made true his threats.
“The CUPP suspects an attempt by the Police authorities at the highest levels to cover up these heinous crimes in cahoots with the Imo state government. This is especially as the Imo state governor, Hope Nzodinma has publicly claimed that he knows those who unleashed the terrorist attacks on Ikenga that claimed the lives of his supporters and his uncle. The governor claimed that he had security reports that revealed that a meeting was held with the purpose of carrying out the violent attacks against Ikenga before it happened but chose to do nothing about it. It is only an irresponsible or criminally culpable governor who can do this. We challenge Governor Hope Uzodinma to publish the names of those involved, dates and locations where the pre-attack meetings held and to also explain why he didn’t take any action to forestall it if he didn’t know anything about it.
“The Police authorities have no reason whatsoever not to have arrested the suspect for questioning up till now even after proofs of him threatening Ikenga have been made available officially to them before he executed his satanic, murderous mission.
“Therefore, if the Imo state Police Commissioner and the IGP wouldn’t act on this horribly condemnable criminality bordering on politically motivated terrorism, the CUPP demands the immediate resignation of IGP, Usman Alkali Baba, or he be fired by the Mr President who has pledged a level playing field for all in the coming elections. But the number one man whose responsibility it is to execute that presidential commitment, the IGP, doesn’t seem concerned about the lives and properties and supporters of the opposition as demonstrated in the reprehensible negligence of these terrible attacks against Ikenga by the Police authorities. Something as simple as even inviting the number one suspect in this arson and murder, the suspect, for questioning has not taken place.
“Is there complicity between the police and the Imo state government to cover up this crime? No invitation, no arrests, no investigation and, in fact, no categorical statement from the Police authorities with regard to a ferocious attack of that nature where citizens were violently murdered.
“This suspicious attitude by the Police authorities gives an air of impunity to murderers who would threaten murder publicly and get away with it afterward. That’s a mass failure on the part of the Police and we daresay it is deliberate.
“The CUPP restates our call for the IGP’s resignation or he be fired by the president immediately because this IGP cannot be trusted to deploy the humongous police infrastructures at his disposal during the elections impartially. The alleged suspect does not have constitutional immunity and, therefore, nothing prevents the Police from arresting or even just to inviting him for questioning on his viral threats against Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere that later led to Ikenga’s attempted assassination and burning his property and killing his people.
“The CUPP categorically accuses the Police of culpable negligence of duty by not even making an attempt to investigate the crimes committed by those terrorists masterminded by the alleged suspect as the execution of his threats against Ikenga just days earlier.
“Make no mistake about it, Ikenga remains the most popular candidate in Ideato Federal Constituency of Imo state with wider acceptability than his closest rivals in the field. No matter what the powers that be do, he will win by a wide margin unprecedented in the political history of Imo state.
“But the determination of the People of Ideato Federal Constituency is bigger than any power-drunk governor and the repressive weapons of state. Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere will win that election and the people will protect their votes.