….We cannot be intimidated again in Bayelsa—Sylva, Lokpobiri, others
….”call your party men to order”, Dickson’s Aide urges Osinbanjo
Two persons were yesterday confirmed dead with five others injured following the invasion of the All Progressive Congress (APC) secretariat by some armed hired thugs to disrupt the inauguration of the new Acting Chairman of the Party, Hon. Joseph Fafi.
While one of the person killed was confirmed an APC member from Sagbama Local Council Area of the State, the other was a hawker. They were both caught in the exchange of gunfire between the men of the security agencies and the armed thugs.
Some Journalists at the event, particularly the reporter with the Rhythm FM station, Jese Ese, was injured while trying to jump the barb wired fence of the Party secretariat.
Trouble started at about 10am with the armed thugs disguised as party protesters and beat the security barricade mounted by the men of the Nigerian Police Force and heading directly to the APC secretariat complex.
While the security personnel kept vigilance watch over the perceived protesters, some faithful of the APC raised alarm over the alleged possession of dangerous arms with those sighted among the protesters and joined the security forces to stop the invading attackers.
It was observed that the attempts to stop the protesters resulted in fracas and gun shots were heared from some of the protesters and the policemen retaliated by shooting above the head of the crowd of protesters.
The sporadic gunshots and gun attack from the various sides of the secretariat however caused pandemonium among party faithful which resulted in a stampede and injuries to many including reporters of various media houses present.
Speaking on the development, the Member of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Isreal Sunny-Igoli, expressed concern at the development and accused the expelled Chairman, Chief Tiwei Orunimighe and ex-Militant leader, General Africa Ukpariasa of being responsible for the failed attack.
According to him, “the APC members can not be intimidated in Bayelsa State. We know and we believe that the Party is on the part of rebuilding and enthronement of peace within its fold. The sponsors of the attack will be brought to book.”
The State Leader of the Party and Former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, who arrived the venue at about 12pm after normalcy have been restored, told the crowd of supporters that the attack on the party secretariat is cowardly and wicked and he apologize to members of the Party over the incident.
Sylva,also told the crowd of party leaders and faithful,including the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, his running mate during the last Governorship election, Hon. Wilberforce Igiri, the Former Acting Governor, Werinipre Seibarugu,that those involved in the attack and their sponsors are too small to scare the members of the APC in Bayelsa State, “the bad days of the party are over”.
Meanwhile, Comrade Miriki Ebikibina, the Senior Special Assistant on Politics to Governor Seriake Dickson, has described the sporadic shootings by unknown armed men at the APC party secretariat despite heavy security presence as unfortunate, regrettable and totally unacceptable.
According to Miriki Ebikibina, “the violence and the pandemonium caused is regrettable because it is coming a day after the meeting of the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo with the State Governors and security officers on hate speeches and security challenges faced by states. It is not only most unfortunate, regrettable and totally unaccepted but speaks volume of a party activities in the state”
“The APC activities in Bayelsa are characterized with violence, thereby threatening and heightened the relatively peace and calm, put in place by the State Government. The Acting President and the leadership of the APC, should call their party members to order and respect the right to peace and freedom of movement of the defenceless citizens of the state, who are going about their legitimate business”.