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Tension Mounts As Thugs Sack APC Campaign Rally In Rivers

January 24, 2015

Suspected political thugs on Saturday attacked members of the All Progressives Congress [APC], who were setting up equipment  and canopies for a scheduled political rally, the APC chairman in Okrika, Christian Asifamaka, has said.

In a statement entitled “Again, the PDP-led Federal Government attacks the people of Okrika” and emailed to PREMIUM TIMES Saturday morning, Mr. Asifamaka said his party members were shot at and chased away as they readied the venue of a scheduled rally.[slideshow]37346[/slideshow]

Mr. Asifamaka said, “In the wee hours of the morning of Saturday 24, 2015 at about 3:45am some armed youth started shooting at the venue of the APC governorship rally at National School field, Okrika.

“Those setting up the sound system and the podium were forced to flee for their lives. At about 4am they started shooting explosives into the arena and destroyed the podium, sound equipment and some canopies.

“Okrika is the home of Nigeria’s First Lady Mrs Patience Jonathan. She was present and held the PDP governorship rally at the same venue on Thursday January 22, 2015.

“The boys came in a white hiace bus and allegedly came in from Igbiri, a community that shares borders with Mrs. Jonathan’s Oba Ama community.”

The Rivers State Police Command could not be reached for comment.  Repeated telephone calls to the spokesperson of the command, Ahmad Muhammad, a deputy superintendent of police, failed to connect.

There are however apprehension in the area that the sacked APC supporters might regroup to launch a counter attack on their PDP counterparts.

News of the latest attack on the party came a week after a secretariat of the party at Ngo community in Andoni Local Government Area of the state was bombed.

That incident happened just five days after the party’s office in Okrika Local Government Area of the state was attacked with dynamites.

These and other incidents of political violence are happening despite the leadership of the political parties participating in the February elections signing an undertaking to avoid actions that could promote violence before, during and after the polls.

On Friday, unknown attackers in Bauchi set fire to the campaign office of the governorship candidate of the APC in the state, Mohammed Abubakar.

Mr. Abubakar said he believed the PDP was behind the attack.

Some residents of Bauchi told PREMIUM TIMES the arson may be a retaliation of an earlier attack on President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign team in the town.

On Thursday, hoodlums hurled shoes, plastic bottles and other objects at the podium where the president and his team sat, as he visited Bauchi for campaigns.

The youth later vandalised PDP billboards and posters in the capital, and set fire to a police van.

Another group of hoodlums had attacked the President’s campaign train when he visited Katsina.

Also, just a little over a week ago, some unknown persons set ablaze the campaign office of the Zamfara Central Senatorial candidate of PDP, Ibrahim Shehu.

Three persons were injured while three motorcycles were burnt in the incident.

A PDP member, Muhammad Ibrahim, said some unidentified youths raided the office, beat up the security guards and set the place ablaze.

The spectre of political violence began in early January when some supporters of the APC in Rivers State were shot on their way to attend their party’s presidential campaign flag-off in Port Harcourt.

After that incident, political violence escalated across the country. Days later, campaign buses of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation were set ablaze in Jos, Plateau State, while several property belonging to the PDP in Gombe State were razed.