Kaduna APC Cri­sis: Thugs In­vade NUJ Sec­re­tar­iat, At­tack Sen­a­tors, Jour­nal­ists


John Shik­lam

The cri­sis rav­aging the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State took a dif­fer­ent di­men­sion yes­ter­day when Sen­a­tor Oth­man Suleiman Hunkuyi and Sen­a­tor Shehu Sani among other promi­nent mem­bers of the party nar­rowly es­caped be­ing lynched by armed thugs at the sec­re­tar­iat of the Nige­rian Union of Jour­nal­ists (NUJ) in Kaduna.

How­ever, a cam­era­man with a pri­vate ra­dio and tele­vi­sion sta­tion, Lib­erty Ra­dio and Tele­vi­sion, was se­ri­ously in­jured while their cam­era was de­stroyed.

Sev­eral mo­bile phones and recorders be­long­ing to jour­nal­ists were de­stroyed by the thugs who in­vaded the con­fer­ence hall.

The hood­lums also smashed the wind­screen of a car be­long­ing to the state Chair­man of Ac­tion Demo­cratic Party (ADP), Mr. Morde­cai Ibrahim, which was parked in the premises.

Hunkuyi, Sani and other top mem­bers of the APC fac­tion in the state were at the NUJ Press Cen­tre to ad­dress a press con­fer­ence on the out­come of the re­cent elec­tion of del­e­gates to APC Na­tional Con­ven­tion when hun­dreds of armed thugs al­leged to be loyal to the Spe­cial Ad­viser to Gov­er­nor Nasir El-Ru­fai on Pol­i­tics, Mal­lam Uba Sani, in­vaded the press cen­tre and un­leashed ter­ror on the politi­cians and jour­nal­ists.

The thugs had stormed the NUJ press cen­tre after they got wind of the press con­fer­ence by the APC fac­tion.

They were ini­tially re­stricted to the gate by the po­lice, how­ever, they later over­pow­ered the po­lice as more of them trooped to the area and forced the gate opened.

At­tempts by the po­lice to dis­perse them with tear­gas did not yield any re­sults.

The Gaba­sawa Divi­sional Po­lice Of­fi­cer (DPO), Ab­dul­lahi, who later ar­rived at the premises, al­legedly led some thugs into the con­fer­ence hall where the press con­fer­ence was go­ing on.

Upon gain­ing ac­cess to the con­fer­ence hall, with knives and sticks they wielded, ev­ery­body in the hall scam­pered for safety while the thugs de­stroyed mo­bile phones, recorders and the Lib­erty tele­vi­sion cam­era.

The sen­a­tors were how­ever whisked away as jour­nal­ists ral­lied round to de­fend them­selves from the at­tack.

The state Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice, Abah Agy­ole, later vis­ited the NUJ sec­re­tar­iat and as­sured them that the in­ci­dent would be in­ves­ti­gated.

Sen­a­tor Hunkuyi who ad­dressed the con­fer­ence al­leged that the there was no elec­tion of del­e­gates to the Na­tional Con­ven­tion of the APC, adding that the names of those who emerged as del­e­gates were writ­ten by an of­fi­cial of the state gov­ern­ment.

“The list of the del­e­gates was not known to us. The list was fake, so we wrote two pe­ti­tions to the Na­tional Sec­re­tar­iat of the APC and the zonal of­fice to but­tress our griev­ances.

“We hope the na­tional body would look into our com­plaints and fixed an­other date,” Hunkuyi said.

Be­fore the press con­fer­ence by Hunkuyi and his group, the lead­er­ship of the party had also ad­dressed jour­nal­ists at its sec­re­tar­iat, in­sist­ing that the del­e­gate elec­tions fol­lowed due process and that it was free, cred­i­ble and fair.

The state Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary of the party, Sal­isu Tanko Wu­sono, said the del­e­gate elec­tion was at­tended by all the party of­fi­cials from ward level to the state level.

He said five of­fi­cials from the na­tional sec­re­tar­iat of the APC came to su­per­vise the state elec­tion, ar­gu­ing that “we acted within the party’s guide­lines as no party mem­ber was side­lined.

Mean­while, El-Ru­fai has con­demned the mob ac­tion at NUJ sec­re­tar­iat.

In a state­ment by his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, the gov­er­nor said no­body would be al­lowed to sti­fle free­dom of ex­pres­sion.

“Hav­ing been briefed on the sit­u­a­tion, the gov­er­nor ex­pressed sym­pa­thy with the NUJ and the per­sons that were ha­rassed by the hood­lums.

“The gov­er­nor di­rected that se­cu­rity agen­cies should in­ves­ti­gate and take nec­es­sary ac­tion against the hood­lums.”

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