Two Nigerian senators held hostage at Kaduna APC function

Senator Shehu Sani

•Congress free, fair, says party official
•Governor sympathises with victims, orders probe
•Buhari, Atiku supporters clash in Adamawa
•Wike revokes licence of host hotel

The local government delegate congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) witnessed alleged skirmishes in some northern states. In Kaduna, armed thugs yesterday wounded two journalists and held the representatives of the central and northern senatorial districts of the state, Shehu Sani, Suleiman Hunkuyi and others hostage.

Others who tasted the bitter experience were House of Representatives member, Alhaji Mohammed Musa Soba, party chieftain, Ahmed Tijjani Ramalan, former governorship aspirant, Isah Ashiru, one-time Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) state chairman Yaro Makama and erstwhile governorship candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressive Challenge (CPC), Alhaji Haruna Sa’ed.

The incident occurred during a visit to the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Kaduna where the senators, their supporters and other aggrieved party members had gone to protest the alleged manipulation of the exercise by the power that be.

But things went awry when the thugs invaded the venue, vandalising vehicles and inflicting injuries on one Lawal Mohammed of Kaduna-based Liberty TV and an unnamed cameraman with the Africa Independent Television (AIT) in the process.

However, the Acting State Publicity Secretary, Salisu Tanko, has scored the congress high, describing the dissenters as “disgruntled elements who want to tarnish the reputation of the party.”

He particularly saluted the delegates, stalwarts and members for demonstrating cohesion and party spirit, adding that the state chapter of the APC fully welcomed the outcome.

Sani and his co-voyagers, who alleged that what took place was selection and not election, were, however, smuggled out of the venue un-lynched by a reinforced police team while the victims were hospitalised.

The Commissioner of Police, Agyole Abeh, assured the citizenry that the incident would be probed. “We will investigate the matter,” he stated.

In the meantime, Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai has condemned the incident. He, therefore, ordered an enquiry into the immediate and remote causes of the fracas.

El-Rufai also directed security agencies to beef up security at the NUJ secretariat to protect newsmen in the course of duty.

The directives were contained in a statement by his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan. He warned that the state government would not tolerate any attempt to muzzle the press and innocent citizens.

Besides, loyalists of President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar have clashed in Yola, thus deepening the protracted crisis rocking the Adamawa State chapter of the ruling party. The clash follows the move to take control of the soul of the political grouping.

The Buhari supporters are accusing Governor Mohammed Umaru Bindow of backing the state executives to allegedly impose delegates and come out with an outcome they considered not reflective of the weekend’s exercise.

A chieftain, Alhaji Umar Iya, claimed that all loyalists of the President were locked out.

Also yesterday, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State revoked the Certificate of Occupancy of a Port Harcourt-based hotel allegedly used as the venue for the contentious APC congress.

The party’s candidate representing Rivers East in the Senate, Magnus Abe, had described the exercise as a sham.

The governor made the announcement during the second session of the third synod of the Anglican Diocese of Evo in Port Harcourt. He alleged that the facility was used as a centre of electoral fraud and malpractice.

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