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Election violence fears: Politicians, CEOs move families abroad

The other day, investigations revealed that Nigerian Politicians were selling off their properties to have enough money for the upcoming election, now we are being told they are moving their families abroad. Read the investigative report by PUNCH below;

In a bid to avoid being caught up in
violence that may erupt after the February 2015 general elections,
politicians, many chief executive officers/ chairmen of companies, top
businessmen and wealthy Nigerians have started moving their families out
of Nigeria.
Over 800 persons, including 10 members
of the National Youth Service Corps were reportedly killed in the North
during the violence that trailed the 2011 general elections.
Investigations by Saturday PUNCH
showed that some apprehensive politicians and top members of the
business community started relocating members of their families abroad
late last year.
Many, it was learnt, are still moving their families out of the country.
According to findings, medical
check-ups, short vacation, among others, are being cited by wealthy
Nigerians as reasons for their trips.
Aviation experts told one of our
correspondents that passenger traffic in Nigeria is usually low between
January and March but that is not the case this year.
The CEO of a travel agency, who
identified himself as Damian and did not want further details about
himself or his company in print, said many of his clients had made
bookings to travel abroad for fear of being caught up in violence.
Damian said, “It is true that there is
an increase in the number of transactions we receive; many people are
making bookings to leave the country.
“People are afraid; they fear that there
may be violence after the election. Those making travel plans are
mostly businessmen. I am also running away. I will leave before the
election and return after the person who emerges as the president of the
country has been sworn in.”
Similarly, a popular travel agency on
Lagos Island told one of our correspondents that many managing
directors/chairmen of some companies in Nigeria had booked their flight
tickets in anticipation of leaving the country before the general
elections.
One of the senior workers with the
company, who simply identified himself as Thaddeus, said aside
politicians who thronged the firm to buy tickets, many companies’ MDs
and businessmen had bought tickets from the firm between November 27,
2014 and January 14, 2015.
Thaddeus named the United States, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirate as the most preferred destinations of the MDs.
He said, “Some politicians made
arrangement to travel out of the country after the election, while many
of the MDs chose to leave the country with their families a week before
the poll.
“Before the political parties’ primaries
held late year, we procured tickets for the families of some
politicians and we believe that they must have left the country by now.
The politicians started procuring their tickets from the first week of
this month.”
The development, according to some travel agents who spoke with our correspondents, boosted their businesses.
In the South-East, some prominent Igbo politicians and businessmen have also decided to go for “vacation abroad.”
An aide of one of the members of the
executive committee of Ohanaeze Ndigbo – the apex Igbo socio-political
organisation – said his boss was among those planning to leave the
country.
The aide who pleaded anonymity said, “I
am aware that some politicians have already concluded arrangements to
travel abroad after the election; some of them relocated their families
out of the country many months ago.”
Commenting on the development, the Chief
Executive Officer, Gadeshire Travels & Tours, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo,
confirmed that there had been an increase in ticket bookings in recent
times.
Adebayo said, “Some wealthy Nigerians
moved their families during Christmas holidays and we are not expecting
them back home until after the elections.
“Their decision not to come back may be
as a result of their anticipation of crisis or post-election violence,
based on the experience of the last election.”
In the same vein, a worker with the
travel agency in Surulere, who identified himself as Yunus, said the
rush for tickets had led to slight increase in price.
Politicians, others speak
Though the National Chairman of Labour
Party, Dan Nwanyanwu, said the election would be violent-free, he asked
Nigerians to rise and stop whoever foments trouble from fleeing the
country.
Nwanyanwu, who spoke with one of our
correspondents on the telephone, said, “Nobody can cause problem for the
people and run away. All politicians must remain in the country and
address any challenge that may trail the election.
“Nigeria belongs to all; a few group of
people should not be allowed to make the country hellish for the masses.
So, we will stop whoever causes problem for Nigeria from fleeing the
country.”
In his reaction, the National Publicity
Secretary, Afenifere Renewal Group, a pan-Yoruba socio-political
association, Mr. Mr. Kunle Famoriyo, condemned politicians for sending
their families abroad and making travel plans in anticipation of
post-election violence.
Famoriyo described such politicians as the corrupt ones who have stolen the country blind and are afraid of a backlash.
He said, “Such politicians will run away
if they know that they have looted the country’s resources and that
their hands are not clean. They know that they have skeletons in their
cupboards and are afraid of the nemesis.
“It is condemnable because if they know
their hands are clean, they should be with their people no matter what.
It is the rich that will run away; I’m not running away. I can’t say
that I will run away because there may be violence. A General stays with
his soldiers at the battlefront. We should stay and build this country
together. Most of our politicians don’t have any milk of humanity in
them so they will run away.
“Can a poor farmer planting his cassava
peacefully run away? Can a bus driver run away? Where will he run to? It
is the rich and those who have milked the country that will be planning
to run away.”
A human rights activist, Jiti Ogunye,
said it is necessary that politicians refrain from manipulating the
electorate and election results to avoid violence after the elections..
Ogunye said, “The first condition for
credible election is the activation of electoral justice. Politicians
should learn not just to preach peace but to do justice. If they
manipulate the election results, there could be reaction of violence. So
I advise that they play by the rules so that we can enjoy peace in this
period. They should not rob the electorate of their decisions.”
Abuja-based Chinyere Uche
returned to her home town in Ngor Okpala, Imo State, a few days after
Christmas, but she has no intention of returning to her base.
The thirty-year-old mother of three said she would stay back in her village until after the general elections.
She said, “I did not come back home to
vote; in fact I did not register in my village. I only decided to return
home because of threat that violence may trail the next general
elections.”
A Gombe-based businessman, Mr. Christian Utta, also brought his family from Gombe to his Mbaise home, Imo State.
Utta said, “I don’t want to be caught
napping. By then, we may not even get transportation to come home. I am
not praying for violence but it is better to be late than be late.”
Meanwhile, the Ohanaeze Youth Council,
has called for the establishment of special polling booths for Igbos who
are displaced from their places of residence in the North by Boko Haram
.
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