The police in Minna, Niger State, on Thursday barred the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, from holding a rally at the Minna Polo ground.
The party had booked the venue for a rally in support of its candidate in Saturday’s bye-election in the Niger East Senatorial election, David Umaru.
The bye-election is being held by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, following the death in June of the senator representing the District, Awaisu Kuta.
Niger State is governed by Babangida Aliyu, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The spokesperson of the APC in the state, Jonathan Vatsa, told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview that the Party had earlier applied to use the polo ground on August 24, but was denied because the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, also planned to use the venue.
He stated that when they decided to use the venue on Thursday in other to beat INEC’s deadline for campaign, the police cordoned it off, and tried to disperse the party supporters who had gathered for the event.
Mr. Vatsa further explained that following the action of the police, the party supporters moved round the town and returned later to hold the rally outside the polo ground.
He however said no member of the party was arrested by the police.
“It is the desperation of the PDP (members) who want to win by all means that caused it. “They are afraid of the popularity of our candidate,” he said.
Efforts made by PREMIUM TIMES to speak with the Public Relations Officer of the Niger State Police Command, Ibrahim Gambari, were not successful.
The Punch newspaper however quoted him as denying the claim that the police barred the APC from holding its rally.
Mr. Gambari told the newspaper that the police officers were merely on the ground to provide security and not to harass the party members.