A former Minister of Information and senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Aliyu Ikra Bilbis, was yesterday arraigned before a Sharia court in Gusau, Zamfara State, over alleged destruction of billboards belonging to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
He was, however, granted bail on presenting two serving permanent secretaries in the Zamfara State Government and one other person that owns a house worth N20m in Gusau as sureties.
But the acting Chairman of PDP in the state, Alhaji Mukhtar Lugga, dismissed the allegation as mere propaganda and intimidation by the opposition in the state.
He said, “These are nothing but trumped-up charges and an attempt to intimidate the opposition. We didn’t destroy anything. They just want to plunge the state into chaos so that it will be an excuse not to hold elections because their analysis shows them that they are not anywhere close to victory if the elections are to be held today.
“We are signatories to the peace accord in the state, and let me remind all people of conscience that we are an opposition party and they are the ruling party.
“The example should come from them, but it has been one problem or the other since we signed that peace accord. We will never do anything that will breach the peace in the state because we know the value of agreement.
“The state government has spent billions of naira in installing CCTV; why can’t they analyse the footage to find out the brains behind the destruction of the billboards if there is any?”
He added that, “This is a former Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and an ex-federal lawmaker. At least, he should be granted bail on self-recognition. We are appealing to our teeming supporters to remain calm and resolute. We will explore all legal means to defend ourselves because we are law-abiding people.”
But the state Chairman of the APC, Alhaji Tukur Danfulani, in a statement, accused the PDP of smuggling thugs into the state to wreak havoc on their political assets, including the billboards.
The governorship candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Dauda Lawal Dare, held a rally in the state last Sunday. He was welcomed by a large crowd of his supporters.
But Danfulani said, “This is the second time the opposition PDP is trying to cause unrest in the state through hiring some unscrupulous persons to attack innocent people in the state and steal or destroy their property anytime they are holding rallies in the state.
“It is a known fact that the PDP has been losing its integrity on all fronts, the latest of which is that they don’t have a flagbearer for the governorship election of the state, while many of its realistic members are decamping in their large numbers to the APC.
“We believe that their action to breach the peace in the state owes to the fact that success is not on their side as the state’s electorate have turned their support to the APC and its candidates.
“We, however, want the PDP to note that the law enforcement agents are alive to their duties and we have reported to them of how the PDP thugs stormed the state right from Bimasa, a border village along Sokoto-Gusau road, destroying all APC billboards, posters and any other indicator of the APC up to the state capital.”