Two major political parties in Rivers State — the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party — engaged each other in a war of words during a meeting called by the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security.
The meeting, which was held on Thursday at the Police Officers’ Mess in Port Harcourt, became temporarily noisy and disorderly when the Chairman of the APC in the state, Chief Davies Ikanya, openly accused the PDP of being responsible for the killings in the state.
Ikanya said, at the conference organised ahead of the March 19, 2016 state and National Assembly elections in the state, that 95 of its members were killed during the last elections in Rivers.
The state APC chairman was reacting to the plea by the Chairman of the committee and the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Musa Kimo, and the State Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mr. Aniedi Ikoiwak, that political parties should conduct themselves within the ambits of the law during the forthcoming exercise.
Members of the PDP, who were angered by his accusation, grumbled in disagreement.
The PDP members, however, became more infuriated when the state APC chairman alleged that 24 members of his party were killed in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area by a group of persons working for the PDP.
The PDP members, including candidates in the forthcoming election, maintained that Ikanya must withdraw his statement and apologise to them.
However, the state Chairman of the PDP, Chief Felix Obuah, who appealed for calm, called on the police and other relevant security agencies to investigate the claim by the APC that its members were killed in the recent attacks on a community in ONELGA.
Obuah also expressed the need for the state APC chairman to be investigated for accusing the police and the PDP of having a hand in the incident.
“The APC chairman must be questioned for all the allegations he has made. The APC in the state plans to cause a breakdown of law and order,” Obuah said.
Earlier in his remark, Kimo, who is the chairman of the security committee, spoke on behalf of the service chiefs and promised politicians that security agencies would be unbiased in discharging their responsibilities during the polls.