Saturday, January 24, 2015 8:39 pm
Unidentified gunmen stormed and bombed the site of a planned rally by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Okrika, Rivers state early Saturday, though police said no lives were lost.
Rivers state police commissioner Dan Bature said the incident in Okrika, the town of Mrs Patience Jonathan occurred around 4:30 am (3:30 GMT), long before the start of the rally by the APC governorship candidate, Dakuku Peterside in the February 28 election.
He said the attackers invaded the venue with an explosive device and drove away workers preparing for the event.
Bature advised the APC to postpone the rally in the interest of peace.
Tempers have been rising ahead of next month’s presidential, parliamentary and governorship vote in Africa’s most populous country, with smear speeches dominating campaigns.
The APC has blamed President Goodluck Jonathan’s ruling People’s Democratic Party for the series of violent attacks unleashed on its supporters, facilities and offices since the start of campaigns last month.
The latest attack came as Nigeria’s Inspector General of police, Suleiman Abba on Saturday warned politicians against inciting violence in the run up to the elections.
“The IGP (Inspector General of Police) notes that it is particularly worrisome that, of (late), thugs and miscreants have been employed by some political parties to disrupt and truncate the political campaigns of their opponents,” his office said in a statement, vowing to punish trouble makers with the full force of the law.
Electoral violence has blighted past polls since Nigeria’s independence from Britain in 1960, and there have been warnings that there could be a repeat of clashes in 2011, which left hundreds dead.
Jonathan is seeking a second, four-year term and faces former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, the APC candidate, in the February 14 election.