Anxiety is still mounting in Imo State Government quarters over the condition of the 136 youths arrested by the State Security Service during the presidential election last Saturday.
The youths, who were apprehended at Governor Okorocha’s Foundation at Ogboko in Ideato South Local Government Area, were said to be in possession of valid and cloned Permanent Voter Cards (PVC).
It was gathered that the state government was to lodge a complaint about the “inhuman condition the youths were subjected” with the United Nations.
Okorocha, shortly after casting his vote at Ogboko ward 2 in Ideato South, alleged that the security operatives were acting the script of the Presidency, which, he said, was to intimidate members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He noted that those arrested were 500 voters, identified as APC supporters, adding that they were detained at an emergency cell, set up for that purpose.
According to him, “I think there was a clear-cut directive by the Presidency to arrest APC supporters. I have made attempts to secure the release of the people, but, the security operatives have been dribbling me. But I will take up this matter to any extent to prove that this is unfair”.
Daily Times, on a visit to the temporary cell, saw a heavy presence of security operatives, who denied journalists’ access to the youths.
Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Andrew Enwerem, described the governor’s comments as “full of lies, adding that all those arrested had violated the electoral laws.
“Even those we first paraded, for instance, were discovered to have stockpiled various dangerous rifles and ammunition, which were not double barrel as the governor alleged.
“The suspects could not have been arrested without them committing the offence for which they were apprehended,” he stated.
State Director of SSS, Olusegun Adegboye, explained that the people arrested were under-aged, adding that some of them came from outside the state with cloned PVCs, while they have given useful information to assist in their investigation.
Meanwhile, journalists were barred from entering the INEC and Owerri Municipal Council collation centres, when they tried to get the results of the elections held on Saturday.
Stern-looking soldiers ordered the journalists to go back saying “we were directed not to allow anybody to enter the premises”.
Roads leading to the INEC office and collation centres were barricaded, thereby, causing traffic gridlock which forced motorists and passers-by to divert to other routes.