One Dead, Three Injured As PDP Primaries Turn Violent In Abia
The Abia State Police Command said one person was killed during the violence at Wednesday’s chairmanship primaries of the PDP in the state.
The command’s spokesman, Ogbonnaya Nta, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the deceased, identified as Onyemaechi, was a member of staff of Isialangwa North Local Government Area venue of the election.
He died in a fire at the chairman’s office, the spokesperson said.
The deceased died when the office was allegedly set on fire by aggrieved delegates while three others sustained various degrees of injuries.
The spokesperson said the police arrested four persons in connection with the mayhem.
A witness said trouble broke out when some delegates who came for the poll at the council headquarters in Okpuala-Ngwa, rejected the list presented by the party officials that came to conduct the exercise.
It was learnt that the group, which threatened to disrupt the exercise, alleged that the list was “doctored” to favour a particular aspirant.
The agitation was said to have caused confusion and tension at the venue.
The witness said that in the midst of the crisis that ensued, “somebody sneaked into the chairman’s office with a jerry can of petrol and set the place ablaze”.
“The intention was to burn the disputed list,” the source said, adding that the fire escalated, killing one person on the spot.
Mr. Nta said that three other occupants of the office sustained serious burns and were rushed to hospital for treatment.
He said that the command had commenced investigation into the matter.
The primaries, which were organised to elect the party’s flag bearers for the December 17 local government election in the state, was stalemated in most of the 17 council areas due to violence.
There were also allegations of attempts by some powerful politicians to impose their “anointed’’ candidates.
The Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Abia, Don Ubani, denied the allegations of violence in a telephone interview, but admitted that there were “minor skirmishes during the exercise in some local government areas.”
Mr. Ubani said that the party’s leadership was still reviewing the reports of the election committees.
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