Governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Rivers State, Senator Magnus Abe, has lamented the steady increase in political violence in the state.
He raised the alarm after his team was attacked at Oyigbo local government area of the state on Monday.
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Abe said he chose to be quiet in the face of all the violence meted at his party members during political rallies and meetings but decided not to talk to the press so that Rivers State does not hit the headlines for negative reason.
In a press conference Monday evening in his Campaign office in Port Harcourt, Abe said “today, however the matter has gotten to a point where we can no longer keep quiet.. The country must become aware of what is going on in Rivers State.
“The SDP in Oyigbo Local Government Area this morning were to hold a stakeholders meeting, not a rally. And I indicated my intention to attend the meeting in order to encourage our supporters in Oyigbo. And also pay a condolence visit to one of the kings and then see the chiefs of Oyigbo as well as visit one or two prominent members of SDP in the area.
“The meeting was to hold in a hall in Ayama. This hall was built, finished and donated to the community by me when I was in the Senate as one of my constituency projects.
“When they heard we were to hold a meeting, early this morning, thugs broke into the place, scattered everything and locked up the place, and said we could not hold a meeting there even though approval for the facility had been giving by the chief and elders of the community”, Abe narrated.
The SDP Guber candidate went on to explain that when the information was given to him, he duly informed the police and asked them to withdraw because “our principle had been non confrontation, non violence. And the meeting was taken to the private compound of one of our supporters. And I left there to go and attend the meeting.
“When we got to Egberu, the border into Oyigbo, the road was blocked by thugs armed with guns, knives and all kinds of dangerous weapons. They said this is the home of Desmond Akawor and that we could not enter Oyigbo.
“That there can be no SDP in Oyigbo local government. And I was like did we mistakenly stray into another country or we are still in this part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Because this was happening in broad daylight”.
Abe however commended the new Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command, Okon Effiong, for his efforts so far.
Responding to the allegation by Abe, the PDP state chairman, Ambassador Desmond Akawo, said thuggery is not part of his life.
“For me Abe has enough problems with APC and his people, he should not ascribe it it me. He is my friend, we met and hugged each other in a function recently.
“Ok let’s assume, not conceding, that he was going to my place for campaign, is it not out of courtesy that he tells me that he was going to my village?”