A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ebonyi, Paul Okorie, was on Monday attacked by suspected political thugs at Ugwulangwu area of Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi.
The thugs also attacked Nnachi Okoro, the Ohaozara APC Chairman, one John Ogbonnaya, and two members of the party.
The victims according to reports were reportedly brutalised by gun-wielding thugs from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state, numbering over 30. They were reportedly led by three Ebonyi government officials from the local government.
Mr. Okorie told PREMIUM TIMES in Abakaliki on Tuesday that the attackers invaded the venue where party members were holding a meeting preparatory for the visit of the APC State Working Committee, SWC, slated for Friday, February 9.
Mr. Okorie, a former commissioner for works and environment in Ebonyi, and other victims receivied treatment at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (FETHA).
He described the unprovoked attack as callous, wicked and barbaric.
Narrating the incident to journalists, he said: “We scheduled a meeting of a section of Ohaozara Local Government Area of APC for the three wards in Ugwulangwu, preparatory for the visit of the SWC of our party for the Continuous Voter Registration sensitisation.
“The meeting commenced peacefully at about 5.00 p.m. yesterday (Monday, February 5). The meeting was going on smoothly when midway, some hoodlums, came in and disrupted the meeting.
“So, at a point they went back; we thought they had gone and continued with our meeting when suddenly they came in with over 30 boys in three branded buses, all heavily armed with different types of dangerous weapons.
“They shot sporadically and we were thoroughly clubbed and beaten, as you can see the cuts and bruises all over my body. They escaped in their vehicles, and also took our mobile phones, money and other valuables.”
The APC chieftain urged the electorate to be on guard and assured that no threat or intimidation would make the party to back down on its resolve to wrestle power from the PDP.
He urged the police, army and other security agencies to provide adequate security for every citizen of the state.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the PDP in the state, Onyekachi Nwebonyi, has denied the involvement of his party members in the attack.
“I am just hearing about it now from you. Nobody from my party attacked them. They should go and find the people who attacked them,” he said.
Police spokesperson, Lovett Odah, when contacted, said no formal report on the alleged incident had been received by the command.
She said the police would react appropriately only when the matter has been officially reported and preliminary investigations made.
She, however, said she would liaise with appropriate authorities to ensure the Divisional Police Officer for Ohaozara Local Government Area, visits the scene of the crime.
“The police are yet to receive any report on the alleged attack either at the command or in the division. However, we shall detail the DPO in Ohaozara after due consultations to visit the scene of the crime to commence investigation,” Ms. Odah said.
Despite the assurances, the state chairman of APC, Eze Nwachukwu, has condemned the attack.
He vowed that the party would explore every legal avenue to bring the perpetrators to justice.
He further reassured of the party’s commitment to peaceful and violence free elections in 2019, and urged politicians not to make the election a do-or-die affair.
He said the party has lodged a formal report at the Police Command in Abakaliki.
“We got the news of the barbaric and brutal attack on our party members while in a peaceful meeting at Ugwulangwu yesterday, and we have taken the necessary action including lodging a formal report at state police command.
“The attack is condemnable and we promise the perpetrators that APC will explore every available legal means to bring them to justice. We are law abiding and wish to reassure the electorate and Ebonyi residents that APC is committed to peaceful and violence free elections in Ebonyi in 2019,” he said.
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