Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
There was palpable tension Saturday when hoodlums attacked the campaign convoy of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Dei-Dei axis of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), setting at least ablaze nine cars.
The violence occurred about a week to the general election and four days to the presidential campaign mega rallies scheduled by both APC and the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja.
The convoy had the FCT Minister’s representative and his Chief of Staff, Bashir Mai-Borno, the APC Chairman in the FCT, Abdulmalik Usman, the DG FCT Campaign Council, Hon. Musa Yahaya Mohammed, candidates of the party to various offices in the forthcoming election as well as other supporters.
THISDAY findings showed that the convoy was attacked on its way to the palace of the Serkin Jiwa. The hoodlums set up a blockade around the Timber Market axis along Dei Dei road and prevented the APC convoy from proceeding to the palace of the Sarkin Jiwa.
Several vehicles also had their windscreens smashed while some individuals sustained varying degrees of injuries.
A statement by the Special Assistant on Media to the FCT Minister, Mr. Abubakar Sani said the attackers pelted the APC convoy with rocks and other deadly missiles.
He added the vehicles in the convoy were set ablaze by attackers throwing petrol bombs. Other motorists, caught in the mêlée were also not spared as their vehicles suffered serious damages.
Although no life was lost, the timely intervention of the security personnel ensured that the situation did not escalate.
The hoodlums were said to have taken advantage of a PDP rally which was also holding around the Timber Market, to unleash mayhem on the APC campaign convoy.
The security detail attached to the office of the FCT Minister and others covering the event, however responded by firing shots in the air to calm the situation.
Unfortunately, the convoy was attacked again around the same spot while it was returning from the palace and heading to the grand finale of the APC FCT campaign at the Old Parade Ground.
The security team, who fired live bullets in the air helped to calm the situation and allow the APC campaign convoy to retreat and follow another route to safety.
The statement described the attack on the APC campaign convoy as coordinated.
After the incident yesterday, the Director General, FCT APC Campaign Council, Hon. Musa Mohammed, described the attack as unfortunate, saying intelligence information suggests that the attack may have been premeditated.
He was, however, quick to dispel the notion that some PDP supporters or ethnic elements were behind the attack. He said the ugly incident will be reported to the proper quarters to forestall a re-occurrence.
“I don’t consider it to be a crisis between two parties. It was a premeditated attack on the APC stalwarts but we didn’t have a privy knowledge of what was awaiting us. It’s quite unfortunate that it happened.
“On our way going, we were attacked and of course on our way coming back, we were also attacked. But as law abiding citizens, we retreated and took another route in order to avoid loss of lives. Unfortunately in the course of retreating, some of our vehicles were set ablaze.”