A staff of a radio station was shot dead Wednesday in Bayelsa State when suspected thugs attacked a political rally ahead of the state’s governorship election on Saturday.
The general manager of Radio Bayelsa, John Idumange, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the driver of the station’s outside broadcasting van was killed. He did not give details.
Witnesses said scores of people, mostly supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party, were injured in the attack. They said the thugs were loyal to the All Progressives Congress.
The attack occurred at around 2 p.m in Nembe which is said to be a stronghold of the APC.
A spokesperson for the PDP campaign council in the state, Fidelis Soriwei, gave the name of the deceased driver as Simon Onu. He said many others may have been killed in the attack.
“We were going to do live coverage of the rally that is why we went with OB Van. Our people, including our media crew, are trapped at Nembe.
“How do you have a state where you can go to the governor’s town to do rally, but the ruling party cannot go to Nembe to do rally?” said Mr Soriwei who is also the spokesperson to the Bayelsa governor, Seriake Dickson.
“There was no fight, you just brought out guns and started shooting at people. These are the same people who were shouting that PDP was stockpiling guns. Now, look at what has happened!”
The spokesperson said Governor Dickson was expected to be at the rally, but was waiting to receive the national chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, who was also expected to attain the rally.
“I think the flight that would have brought the national chairman was delayed that is why the governor didn’t move immediately to Nembe for the rally,” he said.
Mr Soriwei expressed disappointment with security agencies which he said were not living up to their task.
“Where are the men of the Nigerian military! Where are the police! Nigerians can now see who is stockpiling arms! All these deaths just because of campaigns! Is this an election? What a descent into barbarism! Again, what is the plan for security! A ruling political party is being prevented from campaigning in an election?” Mr Soriwei wrote on his Facebook page
Some photos of people wounded in the attack have been shared on Facebook.
The police spokesperson in Bayelsa, Asinim Butswat, said he was holding a meeting with the police commissioner and, therefore, could not speak on the incident.
The spokesperson of the APC campaign council in the state, Doifie Buokoribo, did not respond to calls from PREMIUM TIMES.