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KonkNaija Media | May 3, 2016

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SSS, Naval officers invade APC office

SSS, Naval officers invade APC office

| On 23, Nov 2014


• Arrest 25 workers
•  Vandalise computers, furniture
•  Party says invasion Nigeria’s worst political scandal

The All Progressives Congress (APC) was at the receiving end of a fresh assault by security agencies yesterday.

Operatives of the Directorate of State Security (DSS) and personnel of the anti-crime squad, OP-MESA invaded the party’s data centre on Bola Ajibola Street, off Allen Avenue, Ikeja, at dawn and ransacked it.

Twenty eight party workers, 25 data agents and three security guards- were whisked away by the state agents.

The incident came on the heels of last Thursday’s attack by armed policemen on the National Assembly where House of Reps Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, an APC member and many of his supporters were targeted.

The party called the latest incident as the worst political scandal in Nigeria’s history.

National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed likened it to the Watergate Scandal that led to the resignation of US President, the late Richard Nixon in 1974, as a result of the June 17, 1972, break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the attempted cover-up of its involvement by the Republican Nixon Administration.

He demanded an independent inquiry to “fish out those who ordered the needless and unprovoked attack on the offices of the APC and ensure that they face very serious consequences, irrespective of their status.”

It was gathered that the security agents carted away servers, routers and hard drives from personal computers and the work stations in the centre.

National Project Director, Bisoye Coker, who works for the consultancy outfit that was contracted by the APC to set up a data base for its members, following its membership registration in February (IT Data Network Limited), said she was still in shock.

“As you can see, I’m absolutely and utterly shocked and dismayed by the fact that the premises were invaded this morning (yesterday) by security operatives from Abuja – that was what I was told. We do not know why they have invaded us. As you can see, they have vandalized some of our properties. This is one of our systems; they’ve taken the hard drive inside,” she said.

The security men even went to the residence of her IT manager, Esther Enemuwe, who was not on duty during the raid to arrest her at about 1pm.

“They were asking her about back-up system and the password to our server, which she doesn’t have access to,” Coker said.

The outfit runs three shifts and the third shift, which closes at 7am, was in the process of winding up when the security operatives arrived at 5.45am and began to turn the office upside down.

The centre was in complete disarray yesterday when reporters were conducted round.

Several doors were smashed as were desk top computers.

Coker’s office was ransacked; her Imac computer and server were taken away.

All the shelves were forced open.

Coker said: “They broke into my assistant’s office through this window and took all the documents she had normally piled up on the floor. My IT manager was not on duty when they called, but they got her phone number from one of the staff, somehow located where she stays and went to her house, ransacked the place, arrested her at 1pm and took her to their office at Ketu.”

The consultants have been working round the clock, transferring the information on the membership forms into electronic format, so that their records can be easily accessed.

The APC conducted its membership registration nationwide in February. The IT consultants were trying to transfer the information on the individual membership forms received from around the country into electronic format, for easy access to them.

The Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, who addressed the media at the data centre, said the APC has been trying to create a database and provide permanent party identity cards to its members.

His words: “But, this morning, security agents raided this place and you saw the damage that was done. If this people follow due process in their work, they would have made investigations about this place, to find out what we are doing here.

“This is the worst political scandal we have ever witnessed in this country. You see, this people are getting desperate. A few days ago, we read from PDP press statements that the APC were producing permanent voters’ cards somewhere in Lagos. That is probably the reason why they have invaded this place.”

Igbokwe said the type of desperation PDP is displaying is not new.

“We saw it in the days of IBB; we saw it in the days of Abacha. But this is a civilian dispensation; are not supposed to be getting better? What stops the security agents from doing some little investigation, to find out what is going on here before doing this kind of damage? What is the basis for this idiocy? What is the basis for trying to destroy the psyche of people who are working here? What impression are they giving to the outside world?” he asked rhetorically.

. “That’s exactly what they did here. They invaded this place and stole some vital documents; what do they want to do with it? They didn’t apply common sense,” he said.

Reacting to the development, Alhaji Mohammed said: ”Saturday’s attack is another one in the string of attacks and illegal actions of the PDP-led administration. The attack was unwarranted and unjustifiable. To attack one of the offices of the opposition party, APC, where legitimate operations of the party were being undertaken is an act of fascism and totalitarianism. To the point of brigandage, the invasion of the APC centre is an assault on the APC and its entire membership across the country. It must not go unpunished.

The party said though it had been tipped off about an impending attack on the ‘secret warehouse’ of our leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu, ”we dismissed such plan because there was no ‘secret warehouse’ anywhere and also because we never imagined that the government will attack the offices of an opposition party in a constitutional democracy. Obviously, we under-estimated the desperation of the Jonathan Administration and its worsening proclivity to impunity.”

An operation of terror and brigandage was unleashed on a legitimate operation of a leading national party. They came without a search warrant for the premises. Over 50 security operatives drafted from Abuja operations blocked the two major street entrances to the APC data entry centre, pulled down the gates and spent over two hours ransacking and vandalizing the centre.

”More than a dozen computers were destroyed. The server was also vandalized along with other equipments in the building. Just like the Watergate scandal in the USA, the state-sponsored security operatives apparently acting at the behest of the ruling PDP government turned the office upside down, and pulled out and vandalized everything in sight.

”If the PDP-led government and the security agents had done due diligence and acted professionally, they would have known that the APC data centre is a legitimate operation and the staff are Nigerian youths who were left jobless by the Jonathan government. Apart from the Lagos centre, the operation is decentralized and similar centres are functional in about six different locations around the country.

”They chose to believe the lie that it was a warehouse belonging to one of the national leaders of the party where dangerous weapons were being kept, when in fact it is a centre for entering the data provided by the millions of Nigerians who registered as members of the party during its membership registration exercise,” the party said and described the invasion as another act of impunity, now a trademark of the Jonathan-led presidency which is being edged on by the hawks in the PDP.

APC called the invasion of its offices an attempt to suppress the opposition, get details of its membership with the intention of using it to rig the 2015 elections and also to destroy the spirit of democracy.

”When in Oct. 6th, 2013 we issued a statement alerting Nigerians that the Jonathan Administration was using Rivers State as a testing ground for creeping fascism ahead of the 2015 elections, some said we were raising a false alarm.

”Well, here we are. In the past five months, the PDP-led government has stepped up its acts of impunity and terror against the leaders of the APC and all non-PDP actors. Elected officers, who are not PDP members, have had their rights repeatedly violated by the police and other security operatives. Never before has an elected government been so scared of the opposition to the point of shutting it down.”