The Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) said, “early this Monday morning, a band of marauding thugs dressed in Police camouflage and riding in Hilux vans stormed the Umunachi community Rally ground for the All Progressives Congress Campaign in Omuma Local Government Area of Rivers State, pulling down canopies and vandalised vehicles parked at the venue.
Eyewitness accounts report the few Policemen on ground at the time of the attack as saying that they could not repel same since they were not only outnumbered but recognized some of the attackers as their colleagues who are attached to Government House, Port Harcourt.”
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“This attack, though unprovoked, was not without notice. Ahead of the planned visit to Omuma LGA by the Tonye Cole/Innocent Barikor governorship campaign trail today, threats to attack and stop the gubernatorial candidate of the APC from campaigning in that LGA had been made by Hon. Kelechi Nwogu, Member representing Omuma Constituency at the Rivers State House of Assembly and PDP candidate for the Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency at the February 25 elections, and the Omuma Council Chairman, Mr. Chisom Nwaiwu”, Sogbeye C. Eli Spokesman, Rivers APC 2023 Campaign Council stated in a statement circulated to journalists.
The statement reads, “Consequent upon these threats, the Leader of the APC in Omuma LGA, Mr. Onyekachi Ojiegbe (alias Atiku) petitioned the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command to notify him of the impending attack. The Commissioner, it was gathered, minuted the petition to the OC Operations of the State Command who in turn detailed the Police Area Commanders at Oyigbo and Bori to swing into necessary preemptive action.
“Unfortunately, even though three detachment of the Police were deployed to Omuma by the Oyigbo Area Commander, the dare-devil thugs invaded the Rally venue at dawn just after majority of the Police contingent left to refresh themselves ahead of the arrival of the State Campaign train. The said Rally venue was duly cleared by Mr. Ojiegbe in the face of the deprivation imposed on opposition political parties in the use of public school spaces for campaigns by the draconian, anti-democratic Executive Orders of the Nyesom Wike Administration.
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“The Rivers APC 2023 Campaign Council condemns this particular attack in no uncertain terms. This is one attack too many and an affront on the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by hooligans who missed their way to power.
“We have broken no law conducting campaigns across Rivers State. We have always complied with the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act 2022 and never forced our way into any public school or government facility for the purposes of campaign to warrant these provocative attacks. In fact, we have restricted ourselves to providing alternative venues for our candidates to speak to Rivers people.
“It is incumbent therefore on institutions of State operating in Rivers State to bring this primitive ambush on democracy to a definitive end. In particular, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Okon Effiong Okon, should immediately order that Kelechi Nwogu and Chisom Nwaiwu be arrested to commence investigation of their roles in this attack this morning.
“Anything short of their arrest and prosecution is unacceptable to us and we hope that the Police Commissioner would not attend to this minimum demand with the same lethargy that previous attacks on our Rallies in Port Harcourt, Oyigbo and Opobo/Nkoro LGAs by these notorious elements were treated with that has given rise to the audacity and impunity for criminals to continue trampling on the fundamental rights of APC members to campaign in their own state.
“With the 2023 elections only a matter of weeks away, we make a final call on the President and Commander-in-Chief to prevail on the Inspector-General of Police and Director-General of the Department of State Security Services to avert anarchy in Rivers State. We make this plea believing that our dear State cannot afford a resort to self-help by the APC and other opposition parties where the Police fails to act to protect the rights, lives and properties of our members.”