Insecurity: CUPP petitions Buhari, says desperate politicians blackmailing Military to unleash violence
By Ed Malik, A | January 30, 2023
ed@ddnewsonline.com

The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has sent a strongly-worded petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, asking him to investigate certain politicians in Kogi State over an alleged attempt to cause unprecedented mayhem and insecurity in a bid to disrupt the coming elections.

In a petition signed by not less than 15 leaders of the group, the CUPP urged the President to use his constitutional powers as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, to ensure that politicians whose actions are geared towards making the Nigerian political space conducive for terrorists to thrive are arrested and brought to book.

In the letter, titled; URGENT NEED TO ARREST AND PROSECUTE POLITICIANS TRYING TO SCUTTLE THE 2023 ELECTIONS BY BLACKMAILING OUR MILITARY; the CUPP singled out a senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Kogi State, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, as the alleged “number one promoter of insecurity” in the state and urged the President to direct the security agencies to act on several petitions against her.

The CUPP leaders said, as a major opposition voice since its formation in August 2018, the Coalition had been consistent in opposition activities, which tend towards the advocacy for free, fair, and credible election, adding that CUPP members had the patriotic duty to address issues that might affect the overall wellbeing of the country regardless of the political party involved.

The opposition body faulted an earlier petition by a law firm called Demaki and Demaki Legal Practitioners, allegedly written to discredit the Military and the Chief of Naval Staff, saying, “It is not difficult to see through the shenanigans of the petitioners that it was a sponsored blackmail by a desperate politician or a group of disgruntled politicians hellbent on compromising the security of the state prior to the coming election in order to give free reigns to terror and thuggery.”

In its petition, the CUPP specifically said that Akpoti-Uduaghan had in late 2022 organized a campaign rally at Okene, Kogi Central Senatorial District, and allegedly imported Niger Delta militants into the state for nefarious activities, wondering why security agencies had not invited her to date.

On an earlier petition, which they said was questionably filed by a law firm that had allegedly been hired by promoters of terrorism, the CUPP warned the present administration not to allow unscrupulous politicians to defame the military to pave the way for anti-democratic and criminal acts being planned ahead of the elections.

The CUPP petitioners make bold to state that the petition from the lawyers is blackmail because Commander Akalezi had been dealing with terrorists, who had been going about terrorizing Kogi State, its environs, and, particularly, Ebira indigenes.

It says it is a petition written in bad blood with no iota of credible substance.

“As lawyers, the petitioners know exactly what the due process of law they should apply if their petition has any merit whatsoever. If what they are alleging has any modicum of truth, they ought to have gone to court to enforce their fundamental rights.

“What they are after is to get the Navy Special Forces disbanded so as to enable them to unleash their gangs of bandits on Kogi State and its environs or use them as political thugs during the coming elections in order to compromise the election and force themselves on the people of Kogi State at gunpoint. The government must never succumb to such blackmail,” it stated.

The CUPP leaders reminded the President that he narrowly missed being a victim of the nefarious onslaughts of the said criminals when he visited Kogi State recently.

“We know that it was a politically motivated attack to score political points by heartless politicians who don’t mind shedding blood simply for the purposes of political blackmail,” they stressed.

“For instance, the law firm alleges that the Chief of Naval Staff has been financially induced by the Governor of Kogi State without any strand of proof. He who alleges has the onus of proof hanging on him. It can be observed that no such proof was attached to the petition because it’s a mere object of blackmail,” they added.

The CUPP, therefore, urged the President to take prompt action on the highlighted issues “before political desperados make good their plans to truncate the 2023 elections through active promotion of insecurity.”

The law firm in question had, according to the opposition body, been apparently hired by some politicians to defend terrorist acts, by implicating “the Executive Governor of Kogi State, his Chief of Staff and a Naval officer by the name Commander Uchendu Nicholas Akalezi and his men.”

FULL TEXT
“Your Excellency, as you well know, the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, has been a major opposition voice since its formation in August 2018 and we have been consistent in our opposition activities, which recently have tended towards free and fair election advocacy.

“Late last year, one Mrs. Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan organized a campaign rally at Okene, Kogi Central Senatorial District of Kogi State. We gathered from reliable sources who are residents of the area that the whole of Okene and the envron were filled with Niger Delta militants imported into the state by Mrs. Natasha who is contesting for the Senate to represent Kogi Central. This was a brazen display of thuggery firepower and a sign of the violence to come during the election proper. How and why the security agencies allowed such a flagrant breaking of the law against illegal firearms possession remains a mystery to us.

“Till date, there is no record of Mrs. Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan having been invited for questioning despite outcries by residents about the intimidating presence of those armed Niger Delta militants.

“It is in this respect that, irrespective of the Party that those alleged belong, we have a patriotic duty to address a petition sent to your office by a law firm called DEMAKI AND DEMAKI LEGAL PRACTITIONERS about some heinous crimes happening in Kogi State which allegedly involve the Executive Governor of Kogi State, his Chief of Staff and a Naval officer by the name Commander Uchendu Nicholas Akalezi and his men.

“First, it is not difficult to see through the shenanigans of the petitioners that this was a sponsored blackmail by a desperate politician or a group of disgruntled politicians hellbent on compromising the security of the state prior to the coming elections in order to give free reins to terror and thuggery in their favour. We are convinced that this is part of a grand scheme of antidemocratic elements to scuttle the 2023 general elections by creating wide distrust and disaffection against the military with the sole purpose of blackmailing the military alongside their own perceived political enemies for reasons best known to them.

“Mr. President, we are aware of the considerable sacrifices being made on a daily basis by the officers and men of the Nigerian armed forces to confront terrorists, kidnappers, and bandits who have been making life impossible for Nigerians for some time now. Your good self narrowly missed being a victim of the nefarious onslaughts of these criminals when you visited Kogi State recently. We know that it was a politically motivated attack to score political points by heartless politicians who don’t mind shedding blood simply for the purposes of political blackmail.

“Many state governments, as a measure of support for the efforts being made at the federal level, have also initiated homegrown security measures in collaboration with the police, the armed forces, and sister security agencies with the fundamental purpose of defeating insecurity and criminalities. In states where these measures are yielding results as witnessed in Kogi State and a few others, the criminals are being decimated to the discomfort of those sponsoring insecurity in our country.

“This is exactly what is playing out currently in Kogi State that resulted in this frivolous petition sent to your office. It is sponsored by those who want Kogi State back to the dark days of anarchy where warlords, bandits, and gangs held sway.

“We call for total disregard of this blackmail and immediate arrest and investigation of its sponsor(s) on the following grounds:

“It is a blackmail couched as a petition. For instance, the law firm alleges that the Chief of Naval Staff has been financially induced by the Governor of Kogi State without any strand of proof. He who alleges has the onus of proof hanging on him. It can be observed that no such proof was attached to the petition because it’s a mere object of blackmail.

“We make bold to state that this blackmail was informed by the fact that it seems Commander Akalezi is a terror to those rascals who have been going about terrorizing Kogi state, its environs, and, particularly, Ebira indigenes. It is a petition written in bad blood with no iota of credible substance, we make bold to say. As lawyers, the petitioners know exactly what due process of law they should apply if their petition has any merit whatsoever. If what they are alleging has any modicum of truth, they ought to have gone to court to enforce their fundamental rights. What they are after is to get the Navy Special Forces disbanded so as to enable them to unleash their gangs of bandits on Kogi State and its environs or use them as political thugs during the coming elections in order to compromise the election and force themselves on the people of Kogi State at gunpoint. The government must never succumb to such blackmail.

“Mr. President, we urge you to direct the Police and the Department of State Services to act on the several petitions against the number one promoter of insecurity in Kogi State, Mrs. Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, who has been employing various blackmailing tactics to promote insecurity in Kogi State especially. It is on record that she has been engaging in active advocacy for the release of terrorism suspects from lawful custody. A particular case of reference is that of her personal thug, Shafiu Ibrahim. Despite having established a premafacie case of involvement in terrorist activities against Shafiu Ibrahim by security agencies, Natasha has been going about blackmailing the government to get Shafiu off the ongoing investigations against him.

“We have a strong suspicion that it’s the same Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan who is behind this untenable petition with the aim of rendering Kogi State and about Ten (10) adjoining states vulnerable to insecurity as the elections approach. Enough of this blackmail by Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan because her preoccupation is to consistently apply criminal misinformation as an instrument of the election campaign which has harmful implications for national security.

“We wonder aloud why the Police and DSS have yet to act on those petitions against Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, which has allowed her to continue to do more damage as the elections come closer.

Mr. President kindly uses your good offices to take prompt action on these matters before political desperados make good their plans to truncate the 2023 elections through active promotion of insecurity.”

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