The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says a convoy which included a vehicle conveying Atiku Abubakar, its presidential candidate, was attacked in Borno state.
Paul Ibe, the Media Adviser to Abubakar, announced the development in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Ibe also claimed that supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were behind the attack.
“It is rather unfortunate that the APC in Borno State mobilised some of its members to attack the convoy carrying dignitaries who had earlier paid a courtesy visit at the Shehu of Borno palace to the venue of the rally,” he said.
“While it is well understood that such barbaric behaviour is typical of the APC, it must be noted that this time around, it is specifically the last kick of a dying horse.
“The APC, apparently overwhelmed by the large turn of supporters to greet our presidential candidate, resorted to anti-democratic actions to scare the crowd away from the rally.
“It is a similar pattern to what happened during our rally in Kaduna State and it is important to call the attention of all stakeholders in peaceful elections in Nigeria to the dangerous actions being undertaken by the APC to disrupt our rallies, especially in the North.”
Also, the spokesperson of the PDP presidential campaign, Dino Melaye, had said 74 persons were injured in the attack.
Melaye added that several vehicles were vandalised by the hoodlums.
Melaye, who accused the APC of being responsible for the attack, said the move was to stop the opposition party’s campaign in Borno State.
He stated that the thugs attacked the convoy of the former Vice President after leaving the palace of Shehu of Borno State with stones, sticks, and machetes.
“They deployed their thugs to attack our convoys with stones, sticks, and machetes as we left the Shehu’s Palace to come to the Ramat Square, all in an attempt to stop our rally.
“But we want to assure them that nobody can stop us,” the former senator said.
During his address, Atiku told the gathering that if elected president in the election next year, he will ensure that the problem of insecurity is properly addressed, as well as bring activities at the Lake Chad Basin back to life and continue with the exploration of crude oil in Borno State.
“There are three major issues that are important to everyone in Borno State. The most important is that we must return this state to the true meaning of its title as the ‘Home of Peace’. Therefore, my major agenda as far as Borno is concerned is to deal decisively with insecurity and return peace to this state and everywhere else.
“Secondly, I know that there has been an abandonment of activities around the Lake Chad Basin and this comes with attendant problems of people losing their means of livelihood. So, I am going to provide a sufficient amount of resources in both security and infrastructure that will guarantee the safety of lives and property around the Lake Chad Basin.
“Thirdly, given the enormity of security challenges, the business of crude oil exploration in this state has been put on hold. I will activate the necessary machinery that will ensure that crude oil fields in Borno State are explored, which will in turn make this state more economically viable,” Atiku stated.
The presidential flag bearer thanked supporters of the PDP for attending the rally.
The campaign, which was held at Ramat Square, was attended by a large crowd and many notable leaders of the PDP.
However, the APC in Borno described the claim as false.
Ali Dalori, APC chairman in Borno, who spoke on the claim, said he was “disappointed” over the allegation by the PDP.
Also speaking on the development, Sani Muhammed, Borno police spokesperson, in a statement, described the claim by the PDP as “fake news”.
“There has been a fake news trending propagated by some mischievous elements across the social media that has attracted the attention of many Nigerians, alleging that the PDP Presidential candidate’s convoy was stoned in Borno on the 9th/11/2022 while holding a campaign rally in the state,” the statement reads.
“The Commissioner of Police, CP Abdu Umar, was physically present to supervise the place.
“The command wishes to state authoritatively that the news is not only fake but also a false and mischievous attempt by some unguided people to incite disturbance and distract the peace of Borno people and Nigeria at large.
“The campaign/rally was conducted successfully, as tight/adequate security coverage was emplaced throughout the activities. The candidate and his party were accompanied to the Shehu’s Palace by the Police to pay a courtesy call to the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al-amin El-Kanemi, after which they were escorted until they departed the town.”
The Borno police spokesman, however, said someone attempted to “disrupt” the movement of the convoy, but the person was arrested.
“It is worth noting that one person named Danladi Musa Abbas, 32 years old, who attempted to disrupt the convoy along the airport road was arrested by the Police inside a church after a hot chase in an attempt to escape. He is under the command’s custody with a stone which is an exhibit,” Muhammed said.
“The Commissioner of Police, CP Abdu Umar, is therefore calling the attention of the general public to avoid spreading rumours and fake news that may disrupt the peaceful coexistence and incite disturbance, particularly as the election is forthcoming.
“Finally, the command is at top gear to ensure that Borno state is free from any conflict, before, during and even after the election.”