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APC Alleges Police Complicity in Rivers Campaign Attacks
•Says force’s commissioner has compromised
•Explains how Wike unleashed violence on opposition
•Name your presidential candidate, Dakuku dares Rivers governor
Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship Campaign Council in Rivers State, has alleged police complicity in yesterday’s attack on its members at a rally in Opobo area of the state, saying the state’s Commissioner of Police, Okon Effiong Okon, has compromised.
This is as the party has given a vivid account of how the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, plotted and unleashed violence on the APC campaign in the state.
In a related development, former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has dared Wike to disclose his presidential candidate to Nigerians, saying the Rivers State people were waiting to know who he (Wike) has chosen to support ahead of February 25, election.
Spokesperson of the Rivers APC 2023 Campaign Council, Sogbeye C. Eli, said yesterday’s attack on the APC Rivers governorship campaign at Opobo ahead of the arrival of its candidate, Tonye Cole, was “another red flag to the boiling cauldron that the state political environment has become on the watch of Commissioner of Police, Okon Effiong Okon.”
According to the statement, APC said following the attack, which saw canopies and public address system vandalized at the venue “by identified PDP hoodlums, armed men had snatched the LGA Campaign Coordinator, Boma Brown, and sped out of the town with him.
“However, their plot was aborted in Bori, Headquarters of Khana LGA, when the Sienna vehicle in which he was whisked away was intercepted at the roundabout following distress calls by terrified party faithful.
“An exchange of gunfire was also recorded between a team of policemen, who claimed to have rescued Mr. Brown on the orders of the Divisional Police Officer, Bori and those attached to the state APC Chairman, Chief Emeka Beke, at Kaana Petroleum filling Station in Bori, when one of the Police officers opened fire that could have killed Chief Beke.
“This incident, following on the heels of the forceful disruption yesterday of the Oyigbo Rally grounds by men of the Nigeria Police, which compelled the governorship candidate to campaign on the Old Aba Road adjacent to the open space initially approved by the DPO, has further reinforced the urgency for the redeployment of the Commissioner of Police from the State to avert crisis.
“We recall that the Rivers APC governorship campaign Rally grounds in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area was attacked with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and sporadic gunfire, a development which the Commissioner of Police denied before ordering an investigation by the Deputy Commissioner, Operations and the Bomb Disposal Unit.
“No report of the investigation is made public and no arrest has been made till date. Another disruption of our Andoni Rally at Asarama was also reported without a single arrest.
“Campaign activities of the governorship candidates of Accord, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, and the Social Democratic Party, Senator Magnus Abe, have suffered similar unprovoked attacks at Etche, Oyigbo, Port Harcourt, Tai and Ahoada West LGAs over the last couple of days without any deterrence measure by the State Police Command.
“In the circumstance, we call on both the Inspector-General of Police and National Security Adviser to enforce their commitments at the commencement of the campaign season not to allow state governors suppress or interfere with the rights of other political parties involved in campaign activities in the build-up to the 2023 general election.
“We maintain that is the only guarantee to restore sanity in states like Rivers that have been made volatile by anti-democratic forces working in active connivance with compromised Police Commissioners.”
However, explaining how Wike has been responsible for the violence in the state, the party, in another statement retelling the same account, stated that, “Nyesom Wike took his trademark political violence to another level today at Opobo, home LGA of Dr Dakuku Peterside and his anointed candidate, Mr Siminialayi Fubara.
“Signs that Wike through the Opobo-Nkoro LGA Chairman will go to any length to stop the APC rally in Opobo, which is an emerging pattern in Rivers State, showed early in the day.”
The second statement added that, “when the Cole-led team with the Deputy Commissioner of Police, DC Shehu Mohammed, got to Opobo to meet a group of young boys numbering over 500 fully armed, who opened fire on APC faithful.
“Several persons were injured. Over 30 Cars in the gubernatorial candidates convoy were destroyed. Bottles were freely thrown at APC members, who had gathered at various points in opobo to escort Arc Tonye to the rally venue, where there were over 5000 persons.”
Meanwhile, Peterside, who challenged Wike to make open his presidential preference, has also condemned what he described as unwarranted attack on the APC campaign rally in Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area of the state yesterday.
Expressing dismay at the attack on APC members, he accused the local government chairman, Enyiada Cookey-Gam of introducing violence into Opobo, an area he said had been insulated from political violence since 1999.
In a statement in Port Harcourt, the state capital, Peterside picked on the Rivers State governor, and described him as a man “lacking courage, tact, reason and finesse.”
According to him, “it is a shame that the local government chairman will go the extent of attacking his fellow Opobo people, because of politics, something that has never happened in our political history. This is a new low for a chairman, who has largely been incompetent and a stooge to an equally incompetent governorship candidate.
“Opobo people have been known for political tolerance, diplomacy, exposure and decency but the chairman, acting on the instruction of his gods, has now joined the home of our forebears to the list of flashpoints in Rivers State; this is reckless, irresponsible and disgraceful to say the least.
“Wike avoids difficult conversations, lacks vision and pursues personal interest above people’s interest. I dare Wike to tell the people the presidential candidate he is supporting if he is a man. He had promised his fans that he will unveil his candidate latest January but he lacks courage to take a position.”