The Edo State chapter of the Labour Party, LP, has raised alarm that its members and supporters who turned out to collect their Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, are being intimidated and attacked across the state by thugs allegedly sponsored by the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had raised similar alarm of disruption of collection of PVCs in some centres and the intimidation of its staff by thugs Saturday, January 7, 2023.
Raising the alarm, the Edo State publicity secretary of LP, Comrade Sam Uroupa, who confirmed the attack in a statement made available to National Point on Sunday, said the thugs planted at different collection centres, attacked LP members and supporters who were on queue to collect their PVCs and warned INEC staffs not to attend to anyone until their members (PDP) have all collected theirs.
Comrade Sam Uroupa who said he also witnessed one the attacks in which he received the beating of his life, added that the thugs were not just attacking LP members, but also destroying billboards belonging to Labour Party candidates.
His statement read in part: “Report reaching the Edo State Labour Party from some PVC collection centres says that thugs allegedly sponsored by PDP are attacking and preventing Labour Party members from collecting PVCs.
“According to the report, the thugs specifically warned the INEC officials that if their PDP members have not collected, no body else will be allowed to get their PVC.
“In ward 6 Ikpoba Okha LGA, some PDP thugs allegedly led by one Apostle by name, invaded the PVC collection exercise and beat up the people when they observed that majority of those on the queue are Obidient members.
”It was suspected that these were the same people who carried out the attack on LP secretariat at Ugbekun ward 7, Ikpoba Okha LGA some time in December last year to forcefully take over the office.
“In ward 9 Ogheghe Health Center, Ikpoba Okha LGA, the situation was not different as the PDP thugs in the community disrupted the exercise chasing everybody, including the INEC staffs and made away with the PVCs to prevent LP members from collecting.
“Though it was reported that they later returned the PVCs, the exercise could not continue again as the INEC staffs were apprehensive of their own safety.
“Similarly, in Oghede ward 10 Ovia North East LGA, the LP chairman was attacked by PDP thugs and his cell-phone was destroyed during the PVC distribution exercise. The same PDP leaders and their thugs succeeded in taking the INEC officials to a hotel where it was suspected that some PVCs were handed over.
“In Oluku ward 6 Ovia North East LGA, the ward chairman suffered the same fate as he was attacked by hoodlums suspected to be PDP thugs. At some other locations there were heavy gunshots to scare people away and cause panic.
“Because the PDP have seen the handwriting, they resorted to use of violence against members of our great party, the LP. As we speak, at Egor, over 50 mini campaign billboards of our House of Assembly candidate for Egor constituency, Hon. Derrick Uhunmwagho have been destroyed and taken away by the PDP hired thugs because they are afraid of going into the election with all our candidates,” the statement added.
The LP publicity secretary who said his party and its teeming supporters would not be deterred by intimidation, added that the party is determined to, “deliver Nigeria from the evil grip of APC and PDP”. “We are not going to lose focus on our rescue mission,” he stated.
“Nigerians have suffered enough in the hands of these two parties, our economy is in a shambles and security of lives and property is totally zero,” he added.
Calling on the security agents to intervene, Uroupa stated: “We want to use this medium to appeal to well meaning Nigerians, the security agencies, all Edolites and the general public to please call the Edo State PDP to order.”
Efforts by this publication to reach the publicity secretary of PDP in the state for his comment proved abortive as his cell-phone number did not go through.