The Concerned Youth Empowerment Association of Nigeria, an NGO, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to ensure the release of N-Power workers in the Department of State Security DSS custody.
In a statement, the National President, Comrade Noble Adaelu, said that the workers, Mr Gaius Nnadi and Mr Felix Obisike, were arrested on Feb. 15, for allegedly being in possession of INEC election result sheets.
Adaelu said that the voluntary workers were arrested at the campaign office of the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate in Abia.
He said that all workers of N-power and other beneficiaries of social investment programmes in the state had earlier received a text message invitation to attend a meeting with the Special Adviser to the President, Mrs Maryam Uwais, at the campaign office.
According to him, our enquiry revealed that the message did not emanate from the office of the focal person of social investment programme in the state, Mr Chinenye Nwaogu.
Adaelu said that a counter message was however, sent from the office of the focal person, urging workers to ignore the message and not to attend the meeting.
According to him, Nnadi and Obisike arrived at the venue at different times they were arrested and beaten up by men of the campaign office.
They were accused of foiling the proposed meeting.
Adaelu said that the DSS later came to the rescue of the boys and they had been in detention since then.
He called for the arrest and prosecution of those who were behind the maltreatment and assault of the voluntary workers.
In a separate interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) the Social Investment Programme Focal Person in the state, Nwaogu, confirmed the incident.
Nwaogu said that he put a distress call and sent messages to the DSS as well as the Commissioner of Police in the state when he heard of the incident.
The focal person said that he directed Obisike to send the message to inform N-Power workers not to attend the meeting as the message did not originate from his office.
He accused the APC gubernatorial candidate in the state, Mr Uche Ogah, of trying to hijack the Social Investment programme in the state for political gains.
Nwaogu said he has a running battle with Ogah over how social investment programmes should run in the state.
He said efforts to have the workers released proved abortive, even after the INEC Resident Officer, in the state had dismissed any case of missing document in a press conference.
When the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) contacted Ogah in a telephone interview, he confirmed that the boys were arrested in his campaign office.
He explained that some N-Power beneficiaries, who wanted to campaign for President Muhammadu Buhari, were supposed to meet at his campaign office on the day of the incident.
Ogah said that workers in his office, who had worked hard ahead of the gubernatorial election were angry to find result sheet with some people not connected to INEC.
The candidate, however, said that he called in the DSS and urged his staff not to be angry but handover the matter to the security agency.
On allegation of trying to hijack the N-Power programme, Ogah said that there was no need to respond to such allegation.
When contacted, the DSS spokesman in Abuja, Mr Peter Afunanya, said he was not aware of the matter and could not speak on it.