31st January, 2023
As political violence and intolerance spreads in Rivers
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
The Rivers Police Command has confirmed that the campaign convoy of Senator Magnus Abe, Social Democratic Party, SDP governorship candidate was attacked by armed men the way to attend a rally at Akinima in Ahoada-West local government area of the state on Monday.
Police confirmed the incident was contained in a statement signed by SP Grace Iringe-Koko, Spokesperson of the Command.
” There was a Pre-rally attack by unknown armed men on the campaign convoy of Senator Magnus Abe, while on his way to attend a rally at Akinima in Ahoada West Local Government Area.
“Security personnel attached to him were able to rebuff the attack.
“Upon receipt of the information, tactical teams were immediately deployed to the area to reinforce the personnel earlier posted to provide security at the campaign venue. The teams were able to restore peace and normalcy in the area, paving way for a successful rally,””Iringe-Koko said.
The Command however said it has initiated an investigation into the attack on the SDP flag bearer with a view to arresting the hoodlums.
A shot video that has gone viral had indicated that Abe escaped assassination when unknown gunmen attacked his campaign train at Akinima community in Ahoada-West local government area of the State on Monday.
Abe and his team had earlier visited Ubeta and other communities in the area before heading to Akinima, which is the headquarters of the local government area, when they came under heavy gun attack.
A short video from the SDP’s candidate media team showed members of the campaign train running helter-skelter, scampering for safety in the ensuing chaos.
Speaking on the development, Abe said: “We went there, and they went and used two vehicles to block the road so that we cannot get there.
“Nigeria is a democracy and all of us have the right to go to the people and share our ideas with them. If you have ruled the people for seven years, the people should be happy with you.
“If people are not happy with you it is because you are not doing well. Now, you are sending people’s children to come and block other politicians from talking to the people.”
However, the attack is part of the growing political violence in the state ahead of the forthcoming general election.
Abe’s campaign convoy had earlier been attacked in Oyigbo and Tai, while Dumo-Lulu Briggs, the governorship candidate of Accord was similarly attacked at Etche Local Government area.
There were also sporadic shootings and explosions of suspected Improvised Explosive Devices, IED,at the Rumuwoji play ground, Diobu, Port Harcourt, where Tonye Cole, All Progressives Congress, APC, Governorship candidate and supporters had their campaign rally recently.
About four people sustained different degrees of injury in the injury.
Also suspected political thugs had attempted to burn the house of Ezemonye Ezekiel Amadi, a former Commissioner in the state and the APC candidate for Emohua/Ikwerre federal constituency in the House of Representatives.
The incident happened on penultimate Saturday in Omerelu, his country home, in the Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
As the fire started, some community youths were said to have intercepted one of the assailants and arrested him.
In a video he personally shared on the incident, Ekekiel-Amadi said most of the rooms were burnt, adding that the assailants broke the glass and set fire through the curtains.
Candidates of the opposition parties in Rivers State who have suffered political violence:
1) Senator Magnus Abe,SDP, Governorship candidate.
2) Tonye Cole,APC, Governorship candidate
3) Dumo-Lulu Briggs,Accord Governorship candidate
4) Ezemonye Ezekiel Amadi,APC Candidate for Ikwerre/Emohua Federal constituency in House of Representatives.