The police in Lagos State and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have reacted to a viral audio clip in which two men threatened some residents and traders to vote for the ruling APC in the general elections or risk eviction from the Eti-Osa community.
The police spokesperson, Benjamin Hundeyin, told PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday that the police were “carrying out a forensic analysis on the audio” to identify those behind it.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that a traditional ruler was one of those that issued the threat and would be invited for questioning by the police.
However, Mr Hundeyin said the outcome of the police investigation will determine who will be called for questioning.
The APC said the audio did not involve any of its members or leaders.
In the 11 minutes and 34 seconds audio, a yet-to-be-identified man and one other at a meeting with traders and residents of Gbara in Eti-Osa asked the people for their PVCs.
The man wanted to know how many people at the meeting had their PVCs but only about 20 answered in the affirmative.
The man said: “I’m sure, If we take the number of people here, we will not be less than 60, but we have 20 people that have PVCs. What is happening to the rest?
“Because we are ready to fight. Yes, I am not hiding it. I have to be blunt. I have narrated everything to you. In the continent, we have Africa, out of that we have West Africa, in West Africa, we find Nigeria, in Nigeria, there is Lagos; in Lagos, there is Eti-Osa; within Eti-Osa, we have the Gbara community and by the grace of God in Gbara today, we can take our decision.
“The people that will be friends with us are those with PVCs and the people that will be doing business, and making a profit here will only be the people that have their PVCs and are willing to vote for our party — APC. Nothing short of that.
“If you have any other party in mind, as a Nigerian, I’m not holding you, make sure that you are far away from here, just give a gap from Gbara. You want to vote Labour party, you want to vote PDP, it will not be here.”
The man said that no voter has been threatened like this before, adding that he was acting on a directive.
He warned that he would not allow the residents to jeopardise his future and the future of his children.
“As it is now, you have all failed. You are ready to battle with us and we are also ready,” he continued.
“For the few who are voting here, we will identify you. The rest of you can no longer stay with us. I’m sorry, so do the needful.”
After speaking, the man called on one “SSG” to continue the conversation.
The “SSG” said the meeting was important because it has to do with moving the nation forward.
From his words, it appeared those present at the meeting were predominantly non-Yoruba speakers.
He said they had been doing their businesses peacefully without disturbance, “it is because Lagos State is okay.”
“As you have been benefitting us, we also want to benefit from you. And that is the only thing that can cause problems for us. We have been mandated to talk to you.”
The man noted that the attendees must take pictures of who they vote for if they want to continue to do their business in the community peacefully.
The development violates section 93 of the newly amended Electoral Act 2022 which prohibits the use of force or violence during political campaigns.
“A party, candidate, aspirant, or person or group of persons shall not directly or indirectly threaten any person with the use of force or violence during any political campaign to compel that person or any other person to support or refrain from supporting a political party or candidate,” the law reads.
“A political party, candidate, aspirant, person or group of persons that contravenes the
provisions of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction –
(a) in the case of a candidate, aspirant, or person or group of persons, to a maximum fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months; and
(b) in the case of a political party, to a fine of N2,000,000 in the first instance.”
The PDP governorship candidate in the state, Abdulazeez Adediran, described the threats as “a desperation of a dying dynasty.”
In a statement signed by his spokesperson, Gbenga Ogunleye on Saturday, he called on the police to “investigate and invite” those responsible for the audio clips to forestall the breakdown of law and order.
“In an audio clips making rounds in social media, some identified leaders of the APC in the Igbara community in Eti Osa Local Government area of the state summoned some residents and business owners in the community to a meeting and issue a threat to evict them from their residences and business premises if they fail to vote for the APC in the forthcoming general elections,” the statement reads.
“This is one among several cases of threat to life and intimidation of voters in other local government areas known to be the strongholds of the PDP.”
Contacted, Seye Oladejo, the APC spokesperson in the state, said the audio is false and should be “taken with a pinch of salt.”
He said the opposition party could have orchestrated the audio.
“We are not under any pressure, we are extremely comfortable as we count down to the nation. What will be the basis for the threats and intimidation? There is no point.,” he said.
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