Owerri boils as police, suspected APC thugs attack LP candidate

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BY BENEDICT NWACHUKWU, ABUJA

Barely five days after the generally condemned torture of the Nigeria Labour Congress President, Joe Ajaero, in Owerri, the Imo State capital was thrown into another confusion on Sunday as the State Police Command and men suspected to be the ruling party’s thugs attacked the Labour Party’s candidate, Athan Achonu, on his way to the Anglican SYNOD of the Egbu Diocese holding at Obibiezena, Owerri North.

The police anti-kidnapping team and the suspected thugs were said to have laid siege at a popular market, Orie Obibi in the Obibiezena autonomous community of the LGA venue of the programme.

The spokesman of the Athan Achonu Campaign Council, Ihejirika Emeka, in a statement, alleged that his principal’s convoy was heading to the house of the chairman of his campaign council, Tochukwu Okere, when they ran into the road block mounted by the Tiger Base team.

According to him, “Labour Party gubernatorial candidate Senator Athan Achonu was a few minutes ago blocked, assaulted and forced to turn back by elements of the anti-kidnapping unit of the Imo State Police Command led by Mr. Ola.

“Trouble started when the convoy of the Distinguished Senator who was on his way to visit the Honourable member representing Owerri federal constituency and the chairman of his campaign council Hon Tochi Okere, ran into the Tiger Base team at Orie Obibiezena who ordered him to turn back.

“Senator Achonu himself who came down from his vehicle to enquire about the reason for such action, was thoroughly insulted by the team who released gunshots in the air,” he said.

Emeka who raised alarm at the scene of the incident also said, “The action of this Tiger Base team is condemnable and reprehensible. There must be free and fair elections in Imo state. The use of ebubeagu or any police unit to intimidate people ahead of the elections will not work.

“Those who think they can use force to win the next elections are dreaming because they will fail. Imo people have rejected governors who used coercion to seek election victory in the past; this time will not be different.

“The Nigerian police force should call the anti-kidnapping unit to order. The police must not be used to truncate our democracy or set Imo on fire. The action of this unit is raising the already high temperature in the state. Let democracy survive.”

He alleged that the dreaded Tiger Base had earlier mounted a road block at the axis and were said to be molesting indigenes of the area with some youth already handcuffed.

“They were said to have confronted Hon Tochi Okere the House of Reps member when he came to enquire on why they were intimidating the citizens of the area.

“The question is why a supposedly security outfit like the Tiger Base unit would set up a road block so close to the venue where the Egbu Anglican SYNOD was taking place? No intimidation would stop a Labour Party victory in six days’ time,” he said.

When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Ogwuike Nwachuku simply said, “we don’t react to useless insinuation.”