Two Killed, Sylva, Lokpobiri, Others Escape Death
No fewer than two persons were feared dead on Friday after violence erupted and marred a meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bayelsa State chapter.
The meeting, which held amidst tight security at the party secretariat located along the Mbiama-Yenagoa Road, Kpansia, Yenagoa, was convened to swear in the new state chairman of the APC, Joseph Fafi.
In the violent attack former Governor Timpre Sylva, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State for Agriculture, Werinipre Seibarugu, former Deputy Governor of Bayelsa, Peres Peretu, member of BoT, Sunny Goli, member representing Brass I at the state House of Assembly and Godknows Powell, former Commissioner for Local Government and Community Development and other APC chieftains escaped unhurt.
Fafi was appointed chairman by the national leadership of APC following the expulsion of the former chairman, Tiwei Orunimighe, his deputy, Eddy Julius and secretary, Marlin Daniel, by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) over anti-party activities.
The Yenizue-Gene and Kpansia axis of the Mbiama-Yenagoa Road housing the APC secretariat was cordoned off by the security operatives.
Commercial and private vehicle operators were diverted through the INEC and Otiotio roads to the Isaac Boro Expressway.
But just a few hours to the commencement of the meeting which was slated for 10am, gunshots boomed near the party secretariat.
Trouble was said to have started after some armed youths believed to be loyalists of Orunimighe tried to get to the party secretariat through the Baybridge Road near the venue.
It was gathered that shortly after they entered from the Baybridge Road to the Mbiama-Yenagoa Road, some security operatives engaged them in an exchange of gunfire.
The violent boys were said to have driven in a tinted bus reportedly belonging to an ex-militant leader from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
The bus, which was abandoned by the armed youths, was later taken away by the security operatives.
The incident caused panic as people ran in different directions while commercial outfits in the area including banks, supermarkets, fast food outlets forcibly closed shops.
After the dust of the hot exchange of gunfire settled, two lifeless bodies were said to have been found; one behind a building and another on the Baybridge Road.
Some persons were also said to have sustained injuries during the confusion created by the staccato gunshots.
Later, Asuquo Amba, the Commissioner of Police in the state, who led his men to the venue of the APC meeting, said the situation was calm and under control and that they were on top of it.
Addressing a crowd of APC faithful at 12:30pm when the event eventually started, former Governor Sylva apologised to them and said that the party was in comatose for a long time because Orunimighe was trading with the party.
Sylva, who described Orunimighe as ”a recalcitrant and wicked chairman”, said that all those who stagnated the party had been weeded out and the party would now move forward.
He said that he and the Minister of State for Agriculture came from Abuja “to officially present to you…the one that has been given the mantle by all of us in the APC and the EXCO, and he is no other than Mr. Joseph Fafi”.
“Today, they thought they could intimidate us; small children, cowards. They came here to scare you people. But were you intimidated? They are too small.
“This ship of APC has started to sail and no one can stop the ship of APC because we have thrown the chaff overboard this ship,” Sylva said.
In his remarks, Lokpobiri stated that “the bad days are over”, adding that “all those who were selling the party; all those who have been trading with our party, have been exposed by God today”.
While thanking the security operatives that “restored normalcy when those who were trying to cause trouble came here”, Lokpobiri said that the state chapter of the APC would henceforth be adequately funded and the party secretariat would be a beehive of activities.