Gunmen open fire at APC campaign ground

Godswill Akpabio
Godswill Akpabio

Unknown gunmen on Tuesday evening opened fire at the campaign ground of the All Progressives Congress (APC) along Edet Akpan Avenue, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Some people have been injured in the incident.

A keke (tricycle) rider who witnessed the incident said he saw three men alight from a Toyota Hilux parked across the road, opposite the campaign ground popularly known as Nsima Ekere campaign ground.

He said the men walked across the road, stood by the gate of the campaign ground and then opened fire into the premises before they ran back to their truck and took off.

The campaign ground, which is almost the size of two football fields, is always a busy place and is used for a series of political activities, especially this election season.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari, was at the campaign ground on Monday, alongside the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and other APC chieftains, for a political rally.

The APC has released a statement on the incident, including a photo of one person in a hospital bed, said to be one of the injured.

The APC accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of being responsible for the shooting.

“We want to alert the nation and particularly, security agencies of the bombing and shootings that took place at the APC Campaign Office along Edet Akpan Avenue, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

“The bombing and shooting, which took place at about 7:30 pm on Tuesday March 5, 2019, is another desperate attempt by the People’s Democratic Party, its thugs and militant groups that have swamped the state since the commencement of elections in February this year, to cause large scale violence, capable of preventing the March 9, 2019 from holding,” Eseme Eyiboh, a former federal lawmaker and the spokesperson of the APC campaign council in the state, said in a statement.

Mr Eyiboh said three persons have been “badly wounded” and have been taken to the hospital where they are receiving treatment.

“To prepare the way for what followed later in the evening, the PDP media went to town in the morning with photographs of thugs being loaded somewhere in Edo state, purportedly heading to Akwa Ibom State.

“A few hours later they went to town announcing the arrival and arrest of the supposed thugs from Edo. Whether the attack on the Campaign office was part of this choreographed narrative or not, the PDP has crossed the red line in their desperation for this week’s governorship election.

“While we sympathise with those who sustained injuries in the attack, we call on security agencies to get to the roots of this latest onslaught against the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom State.

“This is another in the series of cowardly attempt at intimidating and cowing our party the APC and its supporters in the build-up to the March 9, 2019 governorship election in the state.

“Some months ago, unknown gunmen fired shots into the bedroom of the APC governorship candidate, Obong Nsima Ekere, at his Ewet Housing Estate residence, with his family members narrowly escaping the attack,” Mr Eyiboh added.

The PDP has denied being behind the shooting.

The party said the APC and its leaders should be questioned for whatever happened at the campaign ground.

“We had in the morning informed the whole world and with pictorial evidence that thugs were being arranged on the demands of Obong Nsima Ekere and Chief Godswill Akpabio, using Adams Oshiomhole.

“We had even gone further to state those who were leading the troops – 52 buses were leaving Edo State yesterday morning loaded with thugs, heading to Akwa Ibom. We showed those pictures, and we went with security agencies and some of them were intercepted in Obot Akara. Some used other channels and got into Akwa Ibom, and went straight to the APC secretariat along Ikot Ekpene Road,” Ini Ememobong, the PDP spokesperson in the state told PREMIUM TIMES, Wednesday morning.

“Branded buses belonging to Nsima Ekere ferried them from the party office to his campaign ground. It was after ferrying them there, whether they said it was gunshots or there were explosive detonated. That is what they must answer. If you bring thugs, thugs usually go with arms. No PDP person can have access to Nsima Ekere campaign ground,” Mr Ememobong said.

The police in Akwa Ibom is yet to speak on the incident.

The police spokesperson in the state, Odiko MacDon, did not respond to calls and text message from PREMIUM TIMES as at the time of filing this report.

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