…As Sen. Melaye escapes assassination attempt; police deny incident***
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said it is reconsidering participating in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
The Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, stated this on Thursday when he received a Joint International Election Observation Mission fielded by two main American international civil agencies, the National Democratic Institute, (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), at the party headquarters in Abuja
Mr. Secondus disclosed that “We are yet to take the decision whether we will participate or not, we are no longer confident in INEC or in our own security.
He claimed that the party contested against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Security agencies, not the All Progressives Congress, (APC).
“In Ekiti state governorship election last Saturday we did not contest with APC we contested with INEC and Security agencies,” Secondus said.
The PDP chairman described what happened in Ekiti State as not just electoral fraud but robbery in connivance with INEC and security agencies.
He said that the party is consulting with its relevant organs in the review of Ekiti election to reconsider their position on 2019 general elections.
According to Secondus, a situation where bodies that should be neutral in a contest are brazenly helping to manipulate the process in favour of one party is antithetical to democracy and is a dangerous signal.
He said that there were clear indications for all to see that the ruling APC is scheming to engineer more crisis in the land to enable them to manipulate the electoral process in their favour in connivance with security agencies.
“For us as an opposition party, we have lost confidence in INEC and security agencies”
The National Organizing Security NOS of the party Col Austin Akobundu who also briefed the visiting international agencies on Ekiti said the election involved various electoral frauds through intimidation and ballot snatching.
Akobundu said that INEC fraud was so transparent that it produced conflicting figures of the result and had to pull it down from their website.
While, the leader of the delegation Dr Pauline .H.Bakaer, President Emeritus, Fund for Peace United States said that they were on the visit to share ideas with the opposition party on their challenges ahead of the 2019 general elections.
In the meantime, the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, on Thursday escaped assassination attempt as gunmen allegedly fired shots on his convoy at Ayetoro-Gbede in Ijumu local government area of the state.
It was learnt that the gunmen, who were in police uniforms allegedly attacked Dino while on his way to Yagba area to inaugurate his constituency projects.
Confirming the attack via a tweet, Senator Melaye on his twitter handle @dino_melaye wrote : “I thank God for sparing my life once again. 20 bullet holes on my jeep. Combination of police, SARS and military. God I thank”.
Also speaking on the incident, the special assistant to the Senator on media, Gideon Ayodele, said Melaye’s convoy was attacked around the junction close to the residence of the former military governor of old Oyo state, David Jemibewon in Ayetoro.
It was also gathered that some hoodlums had in the morning prevented the lawmaker from entering Isanlu, headquarters of Yagba east local government area for the inauguration of his constituency projects.
The people were said to have blocked the road with a caterpillar that belonged to the local government, while they made bonfires on the remaining portion of the road.
Meanwhile, the Kogi State Police Command has denied report by Senator Melaye that unknown gunmen in uniform (police, SARS and military) fired gun shots at the vehicle just as it asked the Senator and the people in his convoy to report to the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, Lokoja.
The Kogi State Police Command in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer, DSP William Ovye Aya, said that it was saddening that Senator Dino could turn around the issue misleading and covering up the heinous crime committed by his hired aides who launched a lethal attack on police officers in the course of their normal duty.
Putting the records straight the Kogi Police said that on ‘Thursday at about 1530hours, a team of policemen from the Command was on a routine Anti – Robbery/Kidnapping patrol along Aiyetoro Gbede – Mopa Road and during the patrol, and as it is often the practice, the team pinned down at a point at Iyah Gbede Junction, where they were observing the highway and occasionally conducting Stop and Search.
‘It was in this process a long convoy of vehicles coming from Mopa towards Aiyetoro Gbede approached the Point.
‘Officers of the Command at the Point flagged down the convoy. While the lead vehicle, a Toyota Hilux van, which was later discovered to be conveying officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, stopped to introduce themselves, other vehicles in the convoy dangerously zoomed off without regards for the safety of the officers on ground.
The Police further said that ‘surprisingly, some plain clothed armed men, occupying a white Toyota Hilux van, without registration numbers, without provocation fired gunshots at the officers of the Anti-Robbery /Kidnapping Patrol Team.
‘One of the officers, a Sergeant, was hit by bullet on the right part of his chest as a result of which he sustained grievous injury.
‘The Officer is currently lying critically ill in the hospital where he has undergone a live threatening and currently recuperating.
‘Expectedly, the policemen in self-defence responded by firing back to repel the unexpected attack. Vehicles in the convoy nevertheless, drove away from the scene.
‘It was not until the officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps were questioned that it was realized that the convoy was that of Distinguished Senator Dino Melaye.
The police said it was ‘rather unfortunate that Senator Dino could after this dastardly act by his aides, be going around with armed men, unknown to the Command who could launch such a lethal attack on police officers in the course of their normal duty. It is more saddening that the Senator could turn around to issue misleading statements to cover up the heinous crime committed by his hired aides.
‘While, the command has instituted a high powered investigation panel into the incident Distinguished Senator Melaye is hereby advised to report with people in his convoy to the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, Lokoja to assist in the investigation’
Also, in a statement issued by the Spokesman of the Kogi State Governor, Kingsley Fanwo said the Governor has directed the State Security Adviser, Navy Commander Jerry Omodara (Rtd) “to arrest the tides of unrest in some communities in the state, warning Local Government Administrators in the state to maintain law and order in their domains.”
According to the Governor, “anyone who is found to have breached public peace and constitutionalism shall be made to face the full wrath of the law”.
The statement noted that Governor Bello “condemns in totality, the unfortunate incidents in Lokoja, Isanlu and Mopa in which there were violent confrontations between the security operatives in the convoy of Sen. Dino Melaye and youth in some flash points in Kogi West Senatorial District.
He warned politicians to stop arming thugs and to desist from acts which could foul the peace experienced in the state.
The governor urged security agencies to investigate the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate violence in the aforementioned locations with a view to averting future occurrence; expressing his determination to contain the gradual return of political brigandage to the political environment of the state.