By Magnus Effiong
Leaders of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the Southern Senatorial District of Cross River State have cried out over alleged deadly attacks on some party stalwarts and members in Akpabuyo in which houses, property, vehicles and other valuables were reportedly destroyed, vandalized and stolen.
They accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) “members and thugs in Akpabuyo” of masterminding the attacks, and also expressed surprise that four days after the matter was reported to the Police in the State, no action whatsoever had been taken.
The PDP leaders, in press statement read to Journalists on Wednesday afternoon by its former governorship aspirant, Sir Jarvis Archibong, decried “the carnage and consistent attacks on members and supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party in Akpabuyo local government area since Sunday, 5th February 2023.”
Sir Archibong was flanked by former deputy governor, Efiok Cobham, the deputy governorship candidate of the party in the March 2023 governorship election, Mrs Emana Duke Amawhe, House of Representatives member for Akpabuyo, Bakassi and Calabar South federal constituency, Rt Hon Essien Ayi, senatorial candidate for Cross River South, Ntufam Ekpo Okon amongst others.
It said the attacks began shortly after a candidate of the APC for the area and other APC leaders held a meeting on Sunday 5th February, 2023 at Ikot Oyom, Akpabuyo, and that at about 8:15 pm, the said leaders “without any provocation, led a team of miscreants to destroy billboards of PDP candidates displayed within the private residence of Mr Amanso Okon Etim, the Youth Leaders of PDP at Atimbo. They did not stop there, they went on to break into his house and destroyed his household properties. At the time of the attack, Mr Amanso was in Calabar.”
The party further alleged that, “After that attack, the hoodlums armed with guns and other dangerous weapons moved on and carried out an all-night attack on residences and business premises of our party leaders and supporters within Atimbo East and Atimbo West Wards.
“Some of the victims are Mr Amanso Okon Etim, Hon Francis Ekeng, the State Organising Secretary of our party, Hon Francis Effanga, the Director General of our Senatorial Candidate, the Chairman Atimbo West Ward, Elder Effiom Edet Ekpo. Others include Mr Innocent Atsenudiara, Edet Okon Etim (aka Sunny), Emmanuel Eyo, Savior Maurice, amongst others.”
The PDP said the attack continued on Monday night on the residence of Hon Orok Ekeng, Hon Ikpeme Erete and repeated at Mr Amanso’s residence, and that despite the victims making desperate calls to the Police, there was no reaction.
“We brought these acts of unwarranted attacks and provocation to the attention of the authorities by writing to the State Police Commissioner, the AIG Zone 6 and the DSS. But as we speak, nothing has been done to abet these acts of terrorism. No single security team has been deployed to the area. These hoodlums are now having an unhindered environment to attack innocent residents of the area,” it stated further.
They described the attack as a plan “to provoke our supporters into retaliation so that they can find reasons to deploy their usual boastful power of incumbency and use security agents to arrest and detain our supporters before the forthcoming elections.”
The PDP called on security agencies to “urgently take action to secure lives and property in the area and also arrest those who have been identified and reported to them as perpetrators of these wicked acts,” adding ‘we cannot guarantee the continued patience of our supporters of nothing is done to protect them as they may be forced to protect themselves.”
They also appealed to the APC leaders to prevail on their supporters to stop the “brigandage,” saying the PDP was ready for violent-free elections.
The APC leadership is yet to react to these allegations.