Hoodlums suspected to be loyalists of the Peoples Democratic Party in Akwa Ibom State on Saturday disrupted a meeting of the All Progressives Congress in Ika Local Government Area of the state.
They were said to have vandalised vehicles and injured many of the APC supporters.
During the meeting held in Urua Inyang, Ika council headquarters, over 500 PDP members were expected to defect to the APC.
SUNDAY PUNCH gathered that the meeting had barely begun when the hoodlums, numbering over 30 and brandishing dangerous weapons, stormed the venue and overwhelmed the three policemen at the event.
The hoodlums were said to have chased away hundreds of APC members from across Ika and members of the party’s state leadership at the event.
Speaking with journalists after normalcy returned to the area, an APC member and former member of the House of Representatives for Abak Federal Constituency, Mr. Ekperikpe Ekpo, said the attack was to intimidate APC members because the PDP leadership in the area felt threatened by many of their members’ planned defection into the party.
He said many members of his party sustained various degrees of injuries, adding that five motorcycles were burnt and windscreens of many number of cars smashed.
Ekpo stated that the APC members were earlier denied access into the Women Development Centre, Urua Inyang, by the local government, despite paying for that venue a week ago.
He added that the hoodlums attacked them after they had moved to an alternative venue, St. Patrick Primary School, Urua Inyang.
“This is not election period and they are already behaving this way. We were having our peaceful meeting to receive new members and inaugurate our caucus when some people, instead of looking for a way to deliver dividends of democracy to the people, resorted to violence, negating the essence of government whose primary responsibility is to guarantee safety of the citizenry.
“APC is one family in Ika. We wouldn’t fight among ourselves. The attack came from the other side,” said Ekpo who was also an ex-Ika local government chairman.
Efforts to speak with the state PDP Chairman, Mr. Paul Ekpo and the Publicity Secretary, Mr. Iniobong Ememobong, were futile as they neither answered calls made to their mobiles nor responded to text messages sent.
Source: (Punch Newspaper )