THE All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that the attack on its campaign rally on Thursday in Port-Harcourt involving the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and rapid gunfire is a vicious assault on democracy.
Mr Felix Morka, the party’s National Publicity Secretary in a statement in Abuja, described the attack as despicable.
He added that the development represented a new and dangerous dimension in political violence in the country in the build up to forthcoming general elections.
Morka said the detonation of IED and gunfire at the rally, resulted in serious injuries to APC members and supporters in the immediate vicinity of the attack.
He aledged that the attack was carried out by suspected thugs of an opposition political party.
According to the APC scribe, the attackers were ostensibly on a mission to disrupt and disperse the rally at the traditional grounds of Rumuwoji Town in Mile 1 area of Port-Harcourt.
He explained that the APC Port-Harcourt rally was convened in accordance with all applicable constitutional and legal standards.
Morka, while condeming the attack, said it constituted an assault on our democracy, and a clear threat to the coming general elections.
“The escalation of violence calculated to intimidate and scuttle legitimate campaign activities by opposition political parties in Rivers State is unacceptable and must stop.
“The perpetrators and victims of campaign violence are all Nigerians and we cannot permit or excuse anyone to inflict harm, maim or kill others on account of political partisanship.
“That is the direct antithesis of our democratic norms and negates the greatness of our national democratic aspiration,” Morka said.
He called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to order a full, thorough and expeditious investigation of the incident.
He stressed that statements credited to the Rivers State Police Command that there was no explosion at the rally does not cut the urgency and seriousness of the matter.
Morka said the police could not casually and hastily dismiss eye-witness reports of explosion of IEDs at the rally without full and proper investigation.
He added that if such an investigation had been conducted, the Nigeria Police should do well to make the investigation report public.
“This is a matter of national concern. Nigerians deserve to know and must be reassured that attending opposition campaign rallies in Rivers State is not akin to a journey of no return to the front lines of illicit and orchestrated war.
“Every citizen, irrespective of partisan political affiliation, is entitled to equal protection of law.
“As the Chief Security Officer of the State, Gov. Nyesom Wike, must do his duty to offer equal protection of the law to all citizens of the state.
“He must work with law enforcement agencies to solve this heinous crime, prevent a recurrence and bring the perpetrators to justice,” Morka said.
He wished APC members that were injured in the attack speedy and full recovery and urged the party’s members to remain calm, strong, and undeterred as they continued to turn up massively at its campaign rallies in the states.
“As signatories to the peace pact, political parties owe themselves and the country a duty to engage in issue-based campaigns. (NAN)