Our attention has been drawn to the sad news about the avoidable death of one Dr. Ferry Gberegbe, a party collation agent in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, who was allegedly shot dead by men of the Federal Special Anti-robbery Squad (F-SARS). We join members of his family, along with the good people of Rivers state in mourning this great mind who was a lecturer and senior unionist in the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP). It will be recalled that as far back as November 2018, we had raised alarm over the security situation in the Niger Delta States, during which time we led a protest and submitted letters to the embassies of the United States of America, European Union and the United Kingdom. We have since remained a very vocal voice against the unusually high deployment of security personnel in the states of the Niger Delta, which had created unnecessary tension, especially against the backdrop of a subsisting judgment of the Supreme Court against the use of military personnel in elections. We strongly condemn this senseless act of wasting human resource potential over short term political gains, especially at a time Nigeria ought to be harnessing her intellectual resources to diversify our economy. We call on the Federal Government to take a definite stand for the promotion and defense of fundamental right to life for all Nigerians at all times. The Federal Government must not take lying low the fact that some political figures in Rivers state have mentioned names of those responsible; government must ensure that all who are culpable in this are brought to book to serve as deterrent. The Nigeria Police Force must come out and address the allegations against its operatives in this matter and ensure that if indeed these characters are within its rank and file, such persons are made to face the full wrath of the law. The military on its part must do more than denying the participation of its men in the illegalities that took place during the elections in the Niger Delta, but must work closely with other security agencies to bring culprits to book. The international community must rise and stand with Nigerians to ensure that our hard earned democracy and continued corporate existence is not frittered away on the altar of transient political ambition. We commend the Rivers State Government for the commitment it made, to award scholarships to Dr. Gberegbe’s children, but urge that the government immortalize him and all others who lost their lives during the last elections as heroes who paid the ultimate price for our democracy. All actors in the political space must commit to far reaching electoral reforms that will eliminate the unbearably high tension and high expenditure of human lives that have come to characterize election seasons in Nigeria. Politicians must commit to the prevention of violent acts, being perpetrated in their names, by counselling their supporters and dissociating themselves from such through their public statements and private meetings.
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