THE ARREST AND DETENTION OF HON. FARAH DAGOGO – Annkio Briggs

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I write from Port Harcourt, the capital city of Rivers State. I write as a Rivers State indigene, daughter, stakeholder, elder and rights advocate.
I was outside of Rivers State and Nigeria when l was made aware that Hon. Farah Dagogo had been declared wanted by my state government. While l was trying to confirm this information as the truth from other stakeholders, elders and politicians, l heard that Hon. Farah Dagogo had been arrested. Further investigation confirmed the news about his arrest and detention. At this point, l decided to stop further commitments abroad and return home to Rivers State.
It is not a secret that l have been a reasonable and an unsolicited supporter of Governor Nyesom Wike; in fact, l see him as a younger brother as well as the elected Governor of my beloved Rivers State. It is a fact that Hon. Farah Dagogo is known to me; he is known and is more like a son to me. The passion with which l hold my state and all the peoples of the state cannot be measured, nor can the commitment with which l stand for right and truth, be measured.
I arrived in Port Harcourt on Monday the 2nd of May 2022 and drove straight to where Hon. Farah Dagogo was being held in custody. The police allowed me to see him briefly, which was enough time for me to hear directly from him, his own story, from the declaration for his arrest, to why he was declared wanted, his actual arrest, who arrested him and where he was taken. This took place when he went for screening as a Governorship aspirant of Rivers State in the upcoming elections of 2023. He is currently a House of Representative Member representing Degema/Bonny Constituency.
The result of my visit to see Dagogo was that l was given access to other eyewitnesses to the arrest. The question is did his arrest affected his basic human rights to aspire to the office of Governor in the upcoming 2023 elections.
These are my conclusions.
CONCLUSIONS
Hon. Farah Dagogo was elected into the State House Assembly in 2015, and was again elected into the Federal House of Representatives from Rivers State, representing the Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency both times on the PDP platform in 2019, and no Rivers state indigene and residents will forget what we went through in 2019, as the menacing military tanks and soldiers rolled into Rivers state, and the huge prices the Riverine people especially paid for daring to vote their choice candidates and political party.
The concerns l have are as follows;

  1. Did his purchase of Governorship aspirant form to declare interest to run for the upcoming Governorship elections break any known laws in Rivers State, Nigeria or in the PDP party?
  2. Did the police investigate and conclude with undeniable proofs that Hon. Farah Dagogo arranged and directed cultists to the South-South zonal office of the PDP in Port Harcourt? If the Governor has information to that effect, he indeed has to report it to the police as the chief security officer of our state, but the police must investigate and have proof of such before arresting any citizen politician or not. It is worth bearing in mind and the police need to know that Dagogo is a Governorship aspirant and his screening was due on the day that he was arrested and not on the day before when aspirants for National Assembly were being screened. The people deserve a police force that gets their facts right before they are let loose on us.
  3. The police arrested Hon. Farah Gagogo within hours of being accused of hiring cultists to the venue of the PDP zonal office in Port Harcourt, where he was expecting to be screened by the PDP appointed screening committee, thereby denying him of his basic human rights to offer himself up to the people of his state. He was denied his basic rights in the presence of the men and women representing the PDP, which should have long ago constitute a formidable opposition to the APC. If the APC had acted in this manner towards Hon. Farah Dagogo, or any other member of PDP, the PDP would have been shouting abuse of rights and, no doubt, l Annkio Briggs would have joined in condemning and accusing APC of witch hunting.
    It is a collective shame of the Federal House of Representatives and the National Assembly that, nearly 7 days one of their members was so treated and denied his basic human rights, they are yet to express an opinion on the matter. It is a shame on the PDP that the voices which have spoken up and have taken political advantage of the arrest of Dagogo are the APC.
    It gets clearer every day how APC was able to easily take Federal Government political power from PDP. In the past 7 years, all the PDP have done is say: “The broom cannot sweep, the umbrella will cover you.” How? l ask you.
    Why did the magistrate say he has no jurisdiction, what does he mean by that? Why was Honourable Dagogo denied bail at least pending police investigation the court processes? Have the police and judiciary decided to contribute to denying Dagogo his right to be screened. After all this has been resolved, l hope the PDP will give Hon. Dagogo his opportunity to be screened as he did not on his own volition miss the screening; it seems like the police arrested him to stop him from being screened. The arrest of Hon. Farah Dagogo took place in the presence of PDP appointed screening committee, he was denied his basic human rights to be screened in the presence of those to conduct the screening. PDP should not forget that we expect them to live up to the responsibilities of an opposition political party. If APC had arrested a PDP member at the venue of PDP screening of it’s member, PDP would be shouting abuse of human rights and dare l say it, l would have joined them in shouting rights abuse and witch hunting. PDP cannot be saying this is a family affair; when APC is gaining political mileage out of this. PDP should not continue to take the electorates of the Niger Delta for granted, when we wake up it will be the political loss of the PDP. It is sadly clear why APC was able to take political power from PDP.
  4. When all this is resolved l expect the PDP to avail to Hon. Farah Dagogo a screening as he was denied his right to be screened.
  5. The police and judiciary should not be sympathetic to any political party.
  6. May l at this point call on all the indigenous peoples of our beloved Rivers States to
    remember: we are equal peoples of Rivers State; we must take a stand for our future and refuse to let politics divide us, especially when the dividers take opportunities that we provide for them when we put party and strangers interests first in our beloved Rivers state. Politics is the wagon that delivers the dividends of democracy; the LGAs must ride on this wagon. The future, development, unity and justice of Rivers state is about; and for all the peoples of Rivers state.
    When l look back to the past l know Rivers State doesn’t want to see the political violence we saw in 2019, where tanks rolled into Rivers State, just to stop our people from voting for a candidate of our choice. We all took risks to establish our rights to vote and to have our votes counted: it is our right. I appeal again, the interests of our state and people must come first; recalling the past seven years,
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the 2023 elections are likely to be worse than anything that we have seen since 1960, either as electorates or politicians; therefore, our lives, state and future must come first.
I call on the Inspector General of Police to look into the reasons and circumstances under which Hon. Farah Dagogo was arrested and is being held, and to please remember that these are uncertain times in Nigeria, from terrorism to political party interests, any injustice could give birth to reactions, and Rivers State, like Nigeria, is a political bubbling and boiling pot.
I speak with experience of 23 years spanning 6 elections in Nigeria and Rivers State, and we all, especially in Rivers State, need to bring the tempo down; we can not call one situation an unjust situation at Federal Government level and call the same thing at Rivers State it does not matter – IT MATTERS.
I am concerned to hear that Hon. Dagogo is in hospital after 6days in police custody, we all need to be concerned; politicians and non politicians when in any custody must be protected. Months leading up to elections Nigeria are dangerous times.
I have always stood fearlessly with and for Truth, Right, Justice, Equity, and Equality, and l will continue to do so, in my beloved Rivers State and in the made by Lugard Nigeria that we find ourselves in.
The politicians of the PDP know that this can be resolved. l call on them to find the courage and to do so quickly; if you claim to be an elder politically or traditionally, be courageous and quench this political fire in our state. If you for any reason do not rise up for Rivers State, you will remember this statement.
I call for the release of Hon. Farah Dagogo from Police Custody on his own recognition while and allow him his screening while the courts sort out if he is guilty or innocent of having deployed cultists to the South South Zonal Headquarters of the PDP in Port Harcourt.
Annkio Briggs
DAUGHTER & SERVANT OF RIVERS STATE