Some suspects arrested by operatives of the Cross River Police Command for various alleged electoral offences in Ogoja Local Government Area of the state, have claimed that they were randomly picked up by the police.
The suspects claim to be innocent and ignorant of the reason they were arrested by the command’s men, stating that some of them are members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, while others are vigilantes in their community in Obudu LGA.
One of the suspects, Mr Francis Ubi, who claimed to be a coordinator of the APC in his polling unit in Obudu, told journalists that some soldiers stormed their community a day before the Presidential and National Assembly elections and randomly picked them up.
The self-acclaimed APC ward leader said he was arrested alongside five other members of his party.
Ubi said, “We were brought here on trumped-up charges. I do not belong to any group or political party other than the APC where I coordinate my polling unit in Obudu.
“As I speak with you, over N500,000 was paid into my account to coordinate my unit during the elections and I am also a member of the vigilante.
READ ALSO: Six Suspected Robbers Arrested In Lagos
“While I was arrested in my house in Obudu, others were arrested at a check point in Obudu while on duty.
“Where they were arrested was approved for us to be keeping security by the council chairman who also approved the use of specific guns for us.
“I don’t understand what is happening. Those that are being paraded with us I don’t know any of them and only came to meet them here as we are being paraded.
“We (Vigilante) have been the one keeping Obudu safe because of the level of insecurity there in recent times. We don’t understand what we are being accused of.”
Ubi said after his arrest, he was taken to army barracks at Ogoja where he spent days before being brought to Police Command in Calabar on Friday.
But Ugbo insisted the suspects would be arraigned in court next week.
Earlier, the police, through the command’s spokesperson, SP Irene Ugbo, said it arrested 16 suspects in connection to the violence that happened in the state during the last Saturday’s elections.
Ugbo said the suspects were caught with arms and ammunition during their arrest in Ogoja after the polls.
“You will recall that the command had issued several warnings to the people not to allow themselves be used by desperate politicians during the elections and that anyone caught will have himself to blame.
“These people you see here didn’t take our warning seriously and they are some of the people that tried to disrupt the elections in Ogoja last Saturday.
“They were caught with various arms and ammunition in Ogoja and they will be punished in accordance with the law of the land,” she stated.