By Kabir Muhammad
Crisis was averted in the Dei-Dei axis of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja when hoodlums attacked the campaign convoy of the All Progressives Congress on Saturday, but a party spokesman dissociated the rival Peoples Democratic Party from the attack.
The APC campaign convoy which comprised of the FCT Minister’s representative, the APC Chairman in the FCT, Abdulmalik Usman, the Director General of FCT Campaign Council, Musa Mohammed, candidates of the party to various offices in the forthcoming election as well as other supporters, was attacked while on its way to the palace of the Sarkin Jiwa.
About nine vehicles in the convoy were set ablaze while several others had their windscreens smashed. Few individuals also sustained varying degrees of injuries.
The APC convoy was pelted with rocks, while vehicles in the convoy were set ablaze with petrol bombs , also known as Molotov cocktail.
Other motorists were also not spared as their vehicles suffered serious damages.
Although no life was lost, the timely intervention of the security personnel ensured that the situation did not escalate.
The hoodlums had mounted a blockade around the Timber Market axis of the Dei Dei Road and prevented the APC convoy from going to the palace of the Sarkin Jiwa.
This happened as a PDP rally was being held around the Dei Dei Timber Market.
The security detail attached to the office of the FCT Minister and others covering the event however responded by firing shots in the air to lift the blockade.
The convoy was attacked again around the same spot while it was returning from the palace and heading to the grand finale of the APC FCT Campaign at the Old Parade Ground.
It was during this second confrontation that nine vehicles were set ablaze and many others had their windscreens smashed.
The security personnel were also quick to intervene this time firing several shots into the air to disperse the menacing attackers.
The security agents intervention helped to create a brief window, which allowed the APC Campaign convoy to retreat and follow another route to safety.
Other motorists despite being not part of the convoy also had their windshields broken by flying objects which were hauled by the hoodlums from different directions.
Only the intervention of the security operatives ensured that the situation did not result in total breakdown of law and order.
Billowing smokes from burning vehicles were seen high up in the sky during the melee which occurred in the afternoon, up till dusk.
Witnesses said the unprovoked attack on the APC campaign convoy was coordinated.
The Director General, FCT APC Campaign Council, Musa Mohammed, described the attack as unfortunate.
He said intelligence information suggests that the attack may have been premeditated.
However, Mohammed was quick to dissociate PDP supporters or ethnic elements from the attack.
He said the attack will be reported to the proper quarters to forestall a recurrence.
According to Mohammed, “I don’t consider it to be a crisis between two parties. It was a premeditated attack on the APC stalwarts, but we didn’t have a privy knowledge of what was awaiting us.
“It’s quite unfortunate that it happened. On our way going, we were attacked and of course, on our way coming back, we were also attacked.
“But as law abiding citizens, we retreated and took another route in order to avoid loss of lives.
He said it was unfortunate that in the course of retreating, some of the vehicles were set ablaze.
“Based on the report I gathered from the security personnel, about nine of our vehicles were burnt down.
Some of the vehicles that escaped also had their windscreens smashed. Few individuals also sustained varying degrees of injuries.
“I believe that it’s a good omen that it happened before the election. It’s a pointer to the fact that we should be security conscious and make a security arrangement during the elections and of course after the elections,” Mohammed said.