Police Justify Tinubu Rally’s Disruption in Niger

Sunday Aborisade in Abuja

The Police in Niger State on Tuesday justified the disruption of a rally organised by Project 774, a political group being coordinated by the Deputy Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.

The event was meant to rally support for the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the party’s governorship candidate in the state, Umar Mohammed Bago.

The New Bussa Township Stadium in the Borgu Local Government Area, of the state, venue of the event was completely shut as early as 7am by security agencies.

Our Correspondent who was at the venue of the event around 10am sighted armed security personnel consisting men of the Nigerian Army, Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Roads Safety Corps, and Vigilantes, preventing people from accessing the venue.

Reacting to the development the Police in the State through a statement by the Public Relations Officer, Mr. Wasiu Abiodun, said the action was to forestall breakdown of law and order.

Abiodun said, “The Police had to take over the venue of the planned rally, as a proactive measure due to intelligence received of likely breach of security at the venue.

“Hence, we have to do the needful to avert any possible attack or hijack by suspected miscreants to cause mayhem and breach of peace in the community.

“The Command will not fold its arms and allow act of political violence, avoidable loss of life, destruction of properties and lawlessness.”

Abdullahi Sabi, the main organiser of the programme had through his Special Assistant (operations), Mohammed Garba Danladi in a letter dated 27/01/2023 and addressed to the state Party Chairman, Hon. Haliru Zakari Jikantoro notified the party of the planned rally.

Senator Sabi in the letter also stated that the State Working Committee of the party were invited to the Grand Lockdown Rally for the Candidates and their running mates on the need to galvanize support and positively enhance of the party at the polls.

Part of the letter read, “I am directed to invite you and your exco to the Grand Lockdown Rally in honor of Jagaban Borgu and Kashim Shettima, our party Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates, Hon. Mohammed Bago, with Comrade Yakubu Garba as Gubernatorial and Deputy Governorship Candidates for Niger state in the 2023 General Elections.

“In view of the need to galvanize support and positively enhance the chances of our party in the forthcoming elections, we wish to solicit and count on your unflinching support towards the success of the rally.”

However, the State Working Committee of the party in a statement in Minna on Monday by the publicity secretary, Mallam Musa Dan Sarkindaji, a copy which was made available to journalists, said the Chairman of the party, Hon Haliru Zakari Jikantoro has disassociated itself from the rally.

The statement, titled “Niger APC Disassociated Herself From Lockdown Rally in Borgu” and signed by the publicity secretary also directed all party faithful not to honour and attend such rally, claiming that the planned rally contravenes unified campaign structure as designed by the party.

Part of the statement, “The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Niger State under the leadership of Hon Haliru Zakari Jikantoro has disassociated itself from lockdown rally organized in New Bussa, Borgu Local Government Area of the State.

“The party wishes to draw attention of all party faithfuls not to honour and attend such rally as it contravene with unified campaign structure as designed by the party”.

The Party urged its Executives, stakeholders and party loyalists to attend the grand zonal rally which is scheduled for Wednesday 2nd of February, 2023 Bida, headquarters of Bida local government.

No reason was however given for action of the party.

THISDAY learnt that the state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, who is the leader of the party in the state had instructed the party to stay away from the planned rally.

Further investigations by Our Correspondent revealed that that the Governor was angry because his picture was not in the programme booklet despite being the Senatorial Candidate of the party in the zone.

It will be recalled that the relationship between the Governor and Sabi Abdullahi went sour since the former showed interest in the latter’s seat at the National Assembly.

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