4th March, 2011
Less than one month to the commencement of the April general polls, the political landscape of Benue State has witnessed yetÂ another violent attack. On Wednesday armedÂ political thugsÂ attacked three journalists including the Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor of Benue State, Mr. Ejembi Ogwuche.
The attack took placeÂ along Guma-Makurdi road when they were returning from Governor Gabriel Suswamâ€™s campaign rally in Guma Local Government Area of the state.
Narrating the incident to P.M.NEWS at the Federal Medical Centre where the injured persons are presently receiving treatment, the driver of the media bus,Â Mr. Ode Inalegwu said the incident occurred at about 8p.m.
â€œWe were traveling in a Peugeout bus of the media crew of the office of the deputy governor when weÂ ran into an ambush laid by the suspected thugs. As we were approaching theÂ last village before the state capital, Makurdi, we saw the three young men from afar.
“We thought they were members of a vigilance group in the area because they pointed torchlights on us. We did not have any notion that they were armedÂ thugs, but suddenly they pointed guns at us and we startedÂ begging them not to shoot. We pleaded with themÂ that it was a media vehicle. They instead opened fire on us. I was shot in the hand and the press secretary on the head and hand,â€ Inalegwu said.
P.M.NEWS learnt thatÂ Inalegwu has four bullets lodged in his body. One of the bullets lodged near his heart under his left shoulder, while the Chief Press Secretary, Ogwuche has a bullet lodged in his head and two others lodged in his right hand.
When P.M.NEWS visited the victims, they had finished receiving treatment at the Accident and Emergency ward over night and were being taken out to another ward where they will be admitted.
A reporter who was in the bus, AyubaÂ Okpanachi of the Federal Information, told P.M.NEWS that the armed thugs suddenly emerged from a hideout and opened fire on them. He added that the reporters who sat in the back seats of the media bus escaped without bullet wounds, but theÂ windscreen of the vehicle was shattered by bullets.
Benue State Deputy Governor, Stephen Lawani, who visited the injured victims at the hospital said it was too early to ascertain those behind the attack.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has accused the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, as being responsible for the attack, regretting the continued attack on the party by the opposition party.
According to the State Chairman of the party Dr. Agbo Emmanuel, â€œthese attacks are premeditated by the ACN to provoke the PDP. They did same in Tarka Local Government during our rally when they mobilised some youths to boo our officials.â€
Dr. Agbo, who briefed journalists on Wednesday at the party secretariat in Makurdi, warned that the party will no longer tolerate a situation where the ACN would continue to molest its members as well as innocent and harmless citizens of the state.
â€œThe ACN should note that violence is not the corporate property of anybody. They should seek votes of the people in a manner that will not disrupt the prevailing peace in the state as we are also prepared to match them violence for violence,â€ the party warned .