Police bar PDP faction from meeting venue, cite security reasons

Police blockage of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) meeting venue at the International Conference Centre, Abuja…yesterday.<br />PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ELUKPO

• Markarfi faction rejects Sheriff’s olive branch
• Fayose, Ekweremadu, others pledge loyalty

The police authorities in Abuja yesterday barricaded the International Conference Centre (ICC) venue of a planned meeting by the Ahmed Makarfi-led national caretaker committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

But the group quickly relocated to the residence of Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, where it passed a vote of confidence on the leadership.The faction also announced that it had filed a motion seeking a stay of execution against last week’s Appeal Court ruling recognising Ali Modu Sheriff as national chairman of the party. It equally rebuffed the peace move initiated by the victor.

On the development, the FCT Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Anjuguri Manzah, said: “It is not a barricade as such because our presence here is to keep law and order. We have gathered through our intelligence platforms that there may be a breakdown of law and order around that vicinity, a security breach that is, so we deployed out men, stationed strategically, to ensure there is no security breach.”

He went on: “Our action is predicated on maintaining law and order, we were not there to prevent any meeting from holding, we were not even aware that they are meeting there. It is a public place. We were there to prevent the breakdown of law and order and to forestall possible security breaches.”

Reacting to the event, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, condemned what he described as the manipulation of vital institutions of democracy and radical decline of democratic freedoms in the country, pledging solidarity of all key party organs to the Makarfi group.

Senator Godswill Akpabio and Fayose said they stood by Makarfi but Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom and his Delta’s counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, were not definite in their comments.

But the Cross River State chapter of the party, in separate statements from the Publicity Secretary, Egbun Samuel declared support for Makarfi leadership and state chairman of the party, Ntufam Edim Inok, who supported Sheriff.

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Ayo FayoseICC
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