Some Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, bigwigs scheduled to attend a zonal rally in Minna, the Niger State capital, where the candidacy of President Goodluck Jonathan for the 2015 presidential election is expected to be endorsed today have boycotted the unity rally.
It was learnt that the party chieftains and Benue delegation to the rally boycotted after they came across some Tiv farmers, who were victims of a recent killing spree purportedly by Fulani herdsmen.
It was learnt that as the bus conveying the party chieftains to Minna for the North Central zonal rally involving Benue, Kogi, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) approached Daudu town in Benue State, they saw some internally displaced persons allegedly shot by soldiers from the 72 Special Battalion in Makurdi in pains at the roadside.
The soldiers, who were called upon to restore law and order in the town, allegedly opened fire on the people they were drafted to protect.
Upon sighting the victims and other members of the community, who were fleeing in their droves for dear lives, Chief Godwin Ikyereve, a former federal PDP lawmaker representing Gwer/Gwer West, was said to have directed the driver of the bus conveying them to the Minna venue of the rally to stop and he disembarked.
Other PDP chieftains on the delegation were said to have followed suit.
In a telephone interview with The Nation, Ikeyereve, a former chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Benue State Council, said it made no sense to go ahead with the journey to Minna for a rally, which he described as a jamboree, while blood was flowing in Tiv land.
He said: “I dropped from the bus on the way to Minna because my people were being killed and driven from their homes.
“I saw women with children on their back, trekking long distances. Some were shot and killed, others were abandoned in their blood.
“I can’t attend a jamboree in the current circumstances. Even though am still a PDP member, the security of my people is paramount and should be given attention before the jamboree called the PDP zonal rally, because we are elected to provide security of life and property”.
Emotions ran free when many PDP members saw the plight of the displaced persons. Among those that dropped from the Minna-bound bus included council chairmen, House of Assembly members and ex-lawmakers.