IYC Raises Alarm Over Arrest Of Rivers REC

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has demanded the immediate release of the Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mrs. Gesila Khan, who was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday, 13th April, 2016 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

According to a statement signed by IYC’s spokeman, Eric Omare, “Mrs. Khan had honoured the EFCC invitation and having met with the EFCC team, they demanded for a first class traditional ruler or holder of the national honour of the Commander of the Niger (CON) to stand surety to bail her. “However, when the surety was made available on Thursday, April 14, 2016, the EFCC claimed it no longer knew her whereabouts.

The IYC completely condemned the alleged illegal conduct and flagrant abuse of power by the EFCC in the guise of fighting corruption.

“While all well-meaning Nigerians and organizations including the IYC have over the years supported efforts at stamping out corruption from Nigeria, we insist that such a fight must be done within the ambit of the law and not to witch-hunt perceived enemies of the government in power.

“If the EFCC and other security agencies have any case against Mrs. Khan, she should be taken to a competent court of law and not subject to continuous harassment and intimidation as they have been doing to her since July 14, 2015. The arrest, continuous harassment, detention and moving Mrs. Khan to an unknown destination by President Muhammadu Buhari’s security agents is a deliberate effort to punish her because the ruling party lost the 2015 general election in Rivers State.

“Mrs. Khan served as Resident Electoral Commissioner for Rivers State during the 2015 elections. She was illegally arrested and molested by the Directorate of State Security (DSS) in order to discredit the 2015 general election in Rivers State at the tribunal in August 2015.

“This effort by the EFCC is a continuation of the humiliation and psychological torture of Mrs. Khan. The IYC finds the vindictive nature of the present administration totally unacceptable. This attitude poses serious danger to our democracy and the rule of law.

For a government that came into power due to the political magnanimity of a sitting President to be going after any person it deems to have acted as an obstacle to taking over Rivers State, its cash cow, is most disappointing and worrisome. Nigeria is under siege and civil society organizations and Nigerians must stand up against these wanton violations of the rights of citizens under the guise of fighting corruption.

“Consequently, the IYC demands the immediate and unconditional release of Mrs. Khan and warns the Buhari administration to stop the witch-hunt against Nigerians and especially Niger Deltans who served under the administration of President Jonathan,” the statement concluded.

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