The All Progressives Congress’ governorship candidate in Rivers State, Dakuku Peterside, has said that more than 100 innocent people were killed during the presidential and the governorship elections in Rivers State, and that APC members in the state are still being killed seven months after the elections.
Mr. Peterside said on Monday when he led thousands of people, mostly APC supporters in the state, in a symbolic march through the streets of Port Harcourt to draw attention to the political violence in the state.
People who participated in the event tagged ‘Rivers Black Day’ wore black as they marched through the city.
“It is violence that has continued till today, merely mutating and transforming – from attacks before and during the general elections – now we suffer kidnappings, armed robberies, and assassinations,” Mr. Peterside said at the event.
He said the victims of political killings in Rivers were martyrs who died to ensure the survival of democracy in the state and Nigeria.
He said those who still carry out violent attacks on APC members across the state are “persons who are yet to be dispossessed of the guns with which they were ‘empowered”.
He recounted how the killings took place in Rivers during the general elections.
“Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and friends were attacked and killed in their homes in cold blood because of their political leanings.
“Some were attacked and killed while they were on their way to attend campaign rallies.
“Our campaign venues were victims of explosive devices and outright attacks by gun men. These were intimations of more unpleasant scenarios.
“On election days ordinary citizens who wished to cast their votes as enshrined in the Statutes of our land were killed or maimed by trigger-happy and dagger wielding political thugs and mercenaries. In some cases, at polling units, elderly persons were beaten until their hearts literally stopped beating,” said Mr. Peterside.
He said it was unfortunate that no person till date had been prosecuted for the killings in Rivers State.
He said the essence of the procession was not only to mourn the victims of political killings, but to remind the security agencies of the need to bring to justice those who were behind the killings.
“We will not shirk our moral obligation to continue to advocate for justice for these our fallen brethren. That is the whole essence of Rivers Black Day,” he said.
“To mourn and celebrate these martyrs of democracy; as well as cry out to God to show mercy on us as a people whose land has been polluted by the blood of innocent persons.”