Desperate politicians have resorted to self-help ahead of the 2011 general elections, byÂ hiring and training thugs to use during the period.
A top police source in Abuja, Nigeriaâ€™s capital, confided in P.M.NEWS today thatÂ intelligence gathered by its officers and men across the country indicate that thugs areÂ already undergoing training ahead of the 2011 general elections.
According to the intelligence reports, the killer squads have already commenced training inÂ 16 states of the federation in the area of weapons handling and shooting, under the watchfulÂ eyes of ex-military men.
P.M.NEWS gathered that states involved include: Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Abia,Â Anambra, Edo, Taraba, Adamawa and Imo among others. The police source who declined to giveÂ further details, so as not to jeopardise police response and strategy, vowed that the policeÂ would map out strategies to thwart the sinister plot of the desperate politicians.
The revelation is coming on the heels of an alarm raised by a community leader in TarabaÂ State that there is a massive stockpile of weapons in the southern part of the state. TheÂ community leader, Malam Yusuf Yakubu called on the Inspector-General of Police and theÂ Security Committees of the National Assembly to immediately investigate the arms pile up.
Yakubu made the call in Wukari on Wednesday during an interactive session with journalists.Â He said those behind the weapons pile-up had ill motives against humanity. He said the alarmÂ became necessary in view of the recent arrest of persons with large cache of weapons inÂ Borno State that were alleged to be Taraba and Plateau State-bound.
Yakubu claimed that weapons were being stockpiled especially in Wukari and Takum, notingÂ that this has been going on forÂ years. He recalled the Kutep/Jukun and Jukun/Tiv ethnic andÂ communal conflicts as examples of violent combustions during which different types ofÂ weapons were used.
He held that although people in Takum at a time agreed to surrender their weapons to theÂ police, only a few did. According to him, the weapons surrendered were publicly destroyed atÂ the Taraba Police Command headquarters in Jalingo, but that the people later resumedÂ acquiring other weapons in large quantity.
According to him, the weapons that were brought out during the recent religious crisis inÂ Wukari were part of such pile-up, adding that people of the area now live in perpetual fear.Â He blamed the elite for this sad development and urged the police to be more vigilant inÂ order to prevent any ugly incident in the state.
When contacted for comments, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Alhaji Aliyu MusaÂ confirmed that the police have received reports to that effect. Aliyu added thatÂ investigation into the matter was in progress and that the police was on top of theÂ situation.
Investigations further revealed that politicians are not taking chances about their safetyÂ and their desire to win at all costs, considering the spate of assassinations that usuallyÂ characterise election period in Nigeria. Only recently, an aspirant to the House ofÂ Representatives under Uriomhwon/Uhunwonde Federal Constituency in Edo State, OghoghoÂ Omoregbe, aged 36, was assassinated at Idubor Avenue, 2nd Ugbor Road in Benin on the day heÂ declared to contest the 2011 election.
He was a civil engineer and farmer.
Also in Ekiti State, Kunle Ayaga, a House of Assembly aspirant under the banner of theÂ Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, was killed recently in what many believed was politicallyÂ motivated. Another high profile murder involved Dipo Dina, an ACN governorship candidate inÂ Ogun State in 2007.
Politicians are grooming and hiring armed thugs because of the loss of faith in the abilityÂ of security agencies to protect them and the motivation to rig election rather than lose andÂ go to tribunals where they believe they canâ€™t get justice. The politicians have even goneÂ the extra mile in terms of protecting themselves against any attack by their opponents byÂ acquiring bullet-proof vehicles.
A top American auto armouring company revealed recently that with the approach of the 2011Â elections, more Nigerians have placed orders for heavily fortified antiballistic vehicles.Â Executive Vice President of Texas Armouring Corporation, Mr. Jason Forston was quoted asÂ saying that the presidency, governors, politicians and other wealthy Nigerians are amongÂ those that have placed orders for bullet-proof SUVs.
He said the company has sent close to 800-900 armoured vehicles to Nigeria over the years,Â with more orders coming ahead of the 2011 polls, adding that about 30 percent of the autoÂ armouring companyâ€™s market is in Nigeria.