The Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressive congress (APC) has been engulfed in crisis again, as no fewer than two persons was shot dead, while five others sustain serious injuries as thugs invaded and disrupt the inauguration of the new acting state chairman, Hon Joseph Fafi.
Report has it that one of the diseased was a confirmed APC member from Sagbama Local Council Area of the State, while the other was a hawker; both of them were hit by flying bullets as the security agencies engaged the armed thugs in a gun battle.
However, Journalists at the party secretariat to report the event also scamper for safety, though a reporter with the Rhythm FM station, Jese Ese sustained injuries while attempting to jump the fence when the gun duel started.
A member of the party who does not want his name in print, said trouble started at about 10am as armed thugs disguised as party protesters, beat the security mounted by the police and gained access to party secretariat complex, but for the vigilance of some party faithful who alerted and joined the police to repel the invasion.
It was gathered that attempt to repel them led to the gun battle, heralded with sporadic shots from different end of the secretariat, resulting in stampede as supporters and journalists scampering for safety sustained serious injuries while the shooting lasted.
Speaking shortly after the thugs were dislodged, the only member of the APC in the State House of Assembly, Hon Sunny-Igoli, expressed concern at the development and accused the expelled Chairman, Chief Tiwei Orunimighe and Ex-Militant leader, General Africa Ukpariasa of being responsible for the failed attack.
He noted that Tiwei, whose relationship with the State Party Leader, Former Governor, Chief Timipre Sylva turned soar after the 2016 governorship election, is the brain behind the attack as he has refused to accept that the national exco of the APC has suspended him, hence he is bent on disrupting the inauguration of the new acting chairman, Hon Fafi.
According to him, “the APC members cannot be intimidated in Bayelsa State. We know and we believe that the Party is on the part of rebuilding and enthronement of peace within its fold. The sponsors of the attack will be brought to book.”
The State Leader of the Party, Chief Sylva, who arrived the venue at about 12pm after normalcy have been restored, told the crowd of supporters that the attack on the party secretariat is cowardly and wicked, apologizing to members over the attitude of disgruntled members.
He told the crowd and party faithful that the bad days of the party are over and that the disgruntled elements involved in the attack and their sponsors are too small to intimidate the APC in the state.
Also, in attendance was the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, Sylva’s running mate during the last governorship election, Hon Wilberforce Igiri and Former Acting Governor, Werinipre Seibarugu amongst several other officials.
Meanwhile, Comrade Miriki Ebikibina, the Senior Special Assistant on Politics to Governor Seriake Dickson, has described the sporadic shootings by unknown armed men at the APC party secretariat despite heavy security presence as unfortunate, regrettable and totally unacceptable.
He therefore called on the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo and Governors of APC to call their party members to order, while urging them to respect the government investment in enthroning peace in the state.
To this end, He noted that the APC activities in the state in the last one year six months have been characterized by mayhem, violence and crisis leading to loss of lives and wanton destruction of properties; and reiterate call on the APC national body to enjoined their members to desist from scaring and maiming defenseless citizens in the state.