The Rivers State Government has dispelled allegations that the recent attack on some supporters of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the Omuma Local Government Area of the state was politically motivated.
It also said the police had yet to disclose the outcome of their investigation on the involvement and mission of the 12 suspects arrested in connection with the attack.
One person was reportedly shot and injured when some suspected thugs swooped on some members of the PDP loyal to the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, for displaying his campaign posters in the Eberi area of Omuma on November 6.
The coordinator of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Nnamdi Nwogu, who had alleged that the thugs, numbering over 30, attacked him on other supporters of Atiku with guns, machetes and other dangerous weapons on the orders of some political leaders in the state, also decried the harassment of some party members loyal to the former vice president.
But the Commissioner for Information, Chris Finebone, told our source that it remained a wide speculation that the attack on Atiku’s supporters was connected to the governor or the state government.
“That allegation is totally untrue. To the best of my knowledge, the young man at Omuma has given out an interview, which I listened to today (Thursday), that those who attacked him he didn’t suspect to be politically motivated. He said so; I listened to him.
Finebone also said that the PDP was not oblivious to the fact that it does not support or promote violence in politics, especially at the intra-party level.
“There isn’t any need for this PDP-on-PDP violence. I don’t think it has come to that; it hasn’t come to that. Indeed, no form of violence should happen now and the PDP is very conscious of the fact that violence isn’t and shouldn’t be part of our political script.
“Have the 12 people the police claimed to have arrested made statements? Have they pointed to where their motivation came from? I’m not sure they have and until the police who have made the arrest, I understand, tell the world, tell Nigerians the outcome of their investigation, it will continue to remain wild speculation for anyone to think and point in a certain direction,” he added.
The commissioner also noted that the pro-Atiku group within the party was free to campaign in Rivers, adding that the electorate would make their choice at the polls.
He said, “They are very free to campaign anywhere in Rivers State. They are free to campaign. There is a difference between campaigning and voting. Anybody can campaign on anything but during voting, people will know where to and for whom to vote. That is an essential element of democracy – that people have freedom of choice. We stand by this.”
Meanwhile, Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Okon Effiong, has ordered the immediate arrest of hoodlums who allegedly kidnapped a man and forced him to denounce his support for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, in the state.
In the viral video seen by our reporter, a middle-aged man was allegedly kidnapped and taken to an undisclosed location which looked like a cave from where spoke.
The man who was spotted in a pair of jeans and a blue and white striped polo shirt, bent his head slightly while speaking and stealing glances at those around him.
The video did not show any faces.
The distraught man, who the police identified as one Rhino Owhorike, was heard saying that he would not support Atiku in the Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state until the governor said anything to the contrary.
In the video which lasted for about a minute, there were background voices which suggested that he was speaking in front of his alleged abductors.
He said, “From today, I will not support Atiku Abubakar again in Ikwerre Local Government. Ikwerre Local Government is the territory of Chief Barrister Ezenwo Nyesom Wike until the governor of Rivers State says otherwise.
But reacting to the video in a statement issued through the spokesperson of the Command, Grace Iringe-koko, on Friday, the Commissioner of Police, Okon Effiong, said those behind the wicked act would be arrested and face the wrath of the law as the action of the assailants was a violation of the man’s fundamental human rights.
The statement read in part, “The Rivers State CP today ordered the immediate arrest of the perpetrators of the heinous crime that is currently trending on social media, in which one Rhino Owhorike was allegedly tortured and forced to denounce his support for a particular politician.”