Like the Lagos State Police Command
The All Progressives Congress (APC) attributed the pandemonium that happened during its campaign flag off Tuesday to a fracas between two factions of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), going by a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Joe Igbokwe.
“History was again recorded in Ikeja today (yesterday) as Lagos APC opens its 2019 general election campaigns that clearly and eloquently sent signals out there that the owner of the house is still at home. The organisation, the crowd, the colours, the joy and fun added beauty and class to the carnival which was unprecedented in the history of Lagos politics.
“We only have our teeming supporters and the leadership of the party in the state to thank for displaying absolute trust, loyalty, commitment and affection for the party they have cherished for years and still continue to cherish till date.
“His Excellency and our own Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was on ground to boost the moral of the party and the candidates. We all witnessed an electrifying moment as the governor and the candidates drove in together to the venue. Some 63 chairmen of other political parties in the State added beauty and glamour to the great event by coming out en mass to endorse the candidates of APC, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Obafemi Hamzat.
“However we regret that towards the end of the rally two factions of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) engaged themselves in a brawl that led to some people sustaining various injuries. We deeply regret this ugly and unacceptable rude behaviour with a firm promise that such an incident will not repeat itself again in the cause of the campaigns,” the party stated
The Police announced it has arrested two persons and declared wanted a chieftain of NURTW, Mustapha Adekunle aka Seigo, over the disruption of APC rally in Lagos.
The Command’s spokesperson, CSP Chike Oti, said that the two persons arrested in connection with the incident were helping the police in their investigation.
Oti said that Seigo and his entourage had gained entrance to the rally ground as supporters before his group suddenly attacked another NURTW chieftain popularly know as MC Oluomo.
“The said Mustapha Adekunle aka Seigo, an NURTW chieftain, came to the rally with a group of people and were identified at the entrance as supporters of the party.
“However, at the tail end of the event, Seigo and his group, for a reason yet to be determined, violently engaged other supporters of the party.
“In the ensuing melee, MC Oluomo, another NURTW chieftain, was stabbed and was rushed to EKO Hospital where he is currently recuperating while two other victims of the attack were taken to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital for treatment.
“The crisis was quickly contained by policemen at the venue.” the statement said.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Edgal Imohimi, had met with leaders of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW ), Road Transport Employers Association (RTEAN) where all parties agreed to eschew violence before, during and after the election.
The Command, therefore, expressed disappointment at the incident, stating that it was surprising that a prominent member of NURTW would attempt to violently disrupt a peaceful political rally.
“In view of the development, the Command wishes to encourage members of the public with useful information on the whereabouts of Mustapha Adekunle popularly known as Seigo to report such at a nearest police station.
The rally which was the campaign flag-off of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos ended abruptly as violence broke out mid-way into the well-attended programme.
Hoodlums suspected to be members of the National Union Road Transport Workers (NURTW) invaded the Skypower Ground Ikeja venue with guns, daggers and other dangerous weapons, engaging one another in a bloody factional fight.
The situation sent panic across the campaign ground as party members ran in different directions to avoid being hit by bullets being fired indiscriminately by the hoodlums.
Security operatives had a hectic time controlling the situation.
Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode, who was making a speech, had to leave the stage immediately and was whisked out of the venue together with his deputy, Mrs Idiat Adebule, the APC governorship candidate, Mr Babajide Sanwoolu, and other prominent members of the party.
Several people were injured in the violence, including two journalists who sustained minor bullet wounds.
NAN correspondent who was at the venue could not ascertain if there was any loss of life at the time of filing this report.
Additional report by NAN
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