Political thugs believed to be working for a chieftain of the Abia State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) numbering over twenty on Tuesday attacked support groups loyal to the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu at the Umuahia Township Stadium in Umuahia, the state capital.
The thugs who wore black face cap, polo and trouser attacked Senator Kalu’s support group who came to join other APC faithful to welcome the Presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu whose campaign team arrived the state as part of effort to seek the votes of Nigerians ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Our correspondent reports that while Kalu support group made up of men, women and young ones were dancing to the gospel tunes of a popular gospel artist, Felix Ndukwe, the thugs emerging from the crowd, launched attack on Kalu supporters bearing Senator Kalu and Tinubu’s placards which they equally broke.
The sudden attack on Sen. Kalu’s supporters forced some of them to abandon the placards to run for safety.
Some of the supporters reportedly sustained bodily injuries.
Though none of the thugs were arrested, none of the attackers were arrested by security agents who helped to restore peace at the venue of the rally.
The incident happened a few minutes before the arrival of the APC presidential candidate.
Meanwhile, Senator Kalu who was understood to be in Igbere, his country home during the visit of Tinubu is said to be absent from the event after security reports have it that he was being targeted for attack.
Apart from Senator Kalu, there are other members of the party that were absent from the rally, an indication many say show that there is a crack in the party.
They urged the national leadership of the party to ensure that they bring the warring factions under one roof if the party must make headway in the 2023 general elections ad a house divided against itself may likely fall prey in the hands of their enemies.
Recall that a socio-political group, Abia Rebirth Initiative, ARI, had cautioned Chief Emenike against importing thugs from the neighbouring states to the venue of the rally.
The group said Chief Emenike had concluded arrangements to bring thugs at the rally to unleash mayhem on some political figures and their supporters in the state, warning that this will have a grave implication.
ARI in a statement on Tuesday through its National Coordinator, James Nwaokike, said it has been at the forefront of advocating for a peaceful campaign in the state, warning political figures against reversing gains made in building a culture of peace and tolerance in the state.
The statement read in part, “We have it on good authority that High Chief Ikechi Emenike and his co-travellers have imported at least 1000 thugs from Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi and parts of Akwa Ibom to storm the venue of campaign rally of APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in Umuahia.
“Information available to us indicates that his prime target is the Chief Whip of the Senate and leader of APC in Abia State, Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu and his supporters numbering more than 60,000, such as the Reality Organization, OUK Movement etc.
“High Chief Emenike has shown bitterness against his party leaders, though needlessly and unjustified. This latest attempt is in a bid to cause tension and avoidable chaos in a politically volatile environment like Abia.
“He wants to unleash his foot soldiers and imported thugs against Sen. Kalu and those loyal to him at the campaign rally. This is not in the interest of anyone and must be avoided.”
The group however called on the Commissioner of Police in Abia State, CP Mustapha Mohammed Bala, the Director DSS and other relevant security agencies to swing into action and avert a possible bloodshed in Abia.