The governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Senator Athan Achonu, was allegedly attacked, barely five days before the November 11 elections in Imo State.
Achonu’s convoy was attacked on his way to St Peter’s Anglican Church, Obibiezena in Owerri North Local Government Area, where he was invited to attend the church’s synod.
It was gathered that his convoy allegedly ran into an ambush laid by some thugs, who had mounted a roadblock with an Armored Personnel Carrier, an All Progressive Congress-branded Sienna, and a Hilux truck.
In a statement signed by Chibuikem Diala, the Director, Media and Publicity, Achonu Campaign Organisation, the Senator said the tragedy was averted when the convoy of the candidate escaped death by the whiskers.
According to the Campaign Organisation, Policemen attached to the thugs told them Achonu would not be allowed access to the church premises because the state governor, Hope Uzodimma, who is the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), was at the church service.
“One Oladimeji, a police officer attached to the Tiger Base Police Squad, Owerri, led the team of rough-looking policemen and gun-wielding Ebubeagu security operatives.
“On approaching the roadblock, police officers in the Armoured Personnel Carrier started shooting at the convoy but missed the Wrangler SUV by the whiskers and hit the driver’s window of one of the bulletproof Lexus SUVs in the convoy. This could have resulted in a casualty if not for the fact that it was bulletproof.
“They were shooting sporadically in full public glare in broad daylight. Even after the Police Commissioner spoke to the police officer Oladimeji over the phone, he refused to listen to him, insisting that because Uzodinma was coming that way, he would not allow Achonu to pass.
“A young man identified as ‘TAKPE,’ backed by the police, was also shouting and threatening that the team must turn back, or else he would “destroy all the cars.” This scenario caused so much panic among the women in the convoy.
“To avoid further confrontation, the DSS and other security officers accompanying Senator Achonu exercised restraint and moved the candidate and his team to safety.
“It is sadder that the state police have sold themselves to Uzodinma to the point that even the state commissioner of police no longer has the power to control security matters in the state.
“We demand an urgent probe into the activities of the involved culprits, including Officer Ola, and the state commissioner of police. We also demand that the chief thug ‘Takpe’ shown in the viral video be arrested and brought to book.
“We also demand the immediate transfer of all compromised officers to avoid crises. We also want to make it abundantly clear that the Labour Party and its candidate, Senator Athan Achonu, alongside all lovers of democracy in Imo State, cannot be intimidated.
“We call on President Bola Tinubu, the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, the Chief of Army Staff, the Head of the Department of State Services, DSS, and relevant security agencies to weigh into the security situation in Imo State to avert bloodshed during and after Saturday’s election,” the statement read.
When contacted, the spokesperson for the State police command, Henry Okoye, denied that the candidate was attacked.
He said policemen only advised him not to campaign in the area at the same time since the candidate of the APC was campaigning in the area.
The police spokesperson said, “Nobody attacked the Labour Party candidate. We only advised him not to campaign in the area the same time the APC candidate was campaigning in the area to avoid clash of interest and possible breakdown of law and order in the state.
“The Labour Party candidate didn’t inform us about his campaign in the area but the APC candidate informed us and we were there to provide security. The Commissioner of Police advises political players in the state to stop misinforming the public. These misinformation are capable of escalating things which may lead to breakdown of law and order in Imo state.”
The spokesperson for the APC in the state, Cajetan Duke, said the LP candidate was misleading the public because he had seen that the APC would sweep the poll on November 11.
He said the APC is not deterred by the distractions of the opposition parties as it will continue to campaign in all parts of the state till the last day for campaign as approved by the Independent National Electoral Commission.