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With less than two weeks to the Edo State governorship election, some supporters of the All Progressives Congress have been reportedly abducted by suspected thugs in Esan South-East Local Government Area of Edo State.
According to the governorship candidate of the APC, Godwin Obaseki, the party’s supporters were whisked away along with two campaign vehicles by thugs alleged to be loyal to the opposition Peoples Democratic Partyý last Saturday, after a rally in Illushi, near Ubiaja.
Obaseki explained that while three of the abducted supporters, including a popular entertainer identified as Maleke, escaped, others were still missing.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Theodore Okafor, could not be reached for comments, as calls to his telephone number indicated that it was switched off at the time of filing the report.
But the Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chris Nehikhare, denied the allegation.
Nehikhare described the claim as a figment of the imagination of the APC and the Obaseki campaign team.
“It is a pigment of their imagination because it is on record that the APC thugs have been terrorising, harassing and intimidating not just the PDP members but voters in Edo North, especially in Jattu axis,” he added.
However, according to a statement by the Godwin Obaseki Campaign Organisation on Sunday, trouble started at the campaign ground when some of the PDP thugs infiltrated the crowd and began to vandalise vehicles and chanting ‘PDP.’ The statement said they had the poster of the opposition party’s candidate in their hands.
The APC press crew vehicle was reportedly damaged and some journalists molested, causing the party to pack other vehicles away from the area.
The campaign organisation said that the entertainer, a personal driver to Obaseki’s running mate, Jonathan Orukpe, and one Sani Kamil were assaulted by the thugs while the windscreen of their vehicle was smashed.
The statement quoted Maleke to have said, “We were beaten, molested and almost thrown into the River Niger by some of the thugs, who repeatedly shouted at us for daring to come to the area which they claimed has been secured for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the PDP governorship candidate.
“Before they started, the thugs, one of whom is called Lucky, took away our phones and asked us to sit on the floor. It was when they heard that security agencies have been mobilised that they left and a woman from the community assisted us to escape.”
Obaseki, who condemned the incident, described it as an act of desperation by the PDP, adding that the matter had been reported at the Divisional Police Headquarters in the area.
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