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Tinubu, Fashola escape gun attack

Posted by By CHRIS ANUCHA and NANA AHMADU, Lagos on 2007/03/13 | Views: 1961 |

Tinubu, Fashola escape gun attack

Two persons were feared killed on Monday and many others injured at an election rally in Lagos where Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate in the state, Barrister Babatunde Fashola (SAN) had to be whisked away by security agents.

•2 killed as thugs disrupt AC campaign rally in Lagos

Two persons were feared killed on Monday and many others injured at an election rally in Lagos where Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate in the state, Barrister Babatunde Fashola (SAN) had to be whisked away by security agents.

A policeman attached to the governor was reportedly shot in the head. Several vehicles were destroyed and a number of shops were also torched in the mayhem caused by suspected political thugs, who invaded the open playing ground opposite the Alesh Hotel, Ajah, venue of the AC rally.
Governor Tinubu has promptly blamed his political opponents for the mayhem, vowing to bring the perpetrators of the violence to book.

Eye witnesses told Daily Sun that the hoodlums, numbering about a hundred, had invaded the venue, brandishing various weapons of war, including guns, machetes, broken bottles, charms and started shooting sporadically.
The situation severely paralyzed business activities around Ajah area and policemen drafted to the scene had to release several canisters of tear gas to disperse the hoodlums, forcing several supporters of the party to flee the scene abruptly.
Governor Tinubu, has however, vowed to report the incident to the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Sunday Ehindero and the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Mr. Emmanuel Adebayo.
According to him, "the opposition is planning a state of emergency in Lagos State and we will not allow that at all cost."

Tinubu, who confirmed that some AC supporters were shot by hoodlums, however, appealed to them not to retaliate, saying that the matter would be resolved at the appropriate levels.
"They are here to disrupt our rally because they do not have any hope of winning, but we must remain calm," he said.

Speaking earlier at the rally, AC governorship candidate for the state, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, assured the people that the Lekki Peninsula Water Works project would be completed by his administration if elected the next governor after Tinubu.
"The water project will be supplying two million gallons of water daily to the people of the area. We will embark on the second phase of the Independent Power Project (IPP) that will provide 540 megawatts of electricity for Lagosians,’’ he said.

The candidate also informed party faithful that the state government had entered into a joint partnership with the largest transformer manufacturing company from Cairo, Egypt.
"They will set up their factory in Amuwo Odofin, where transformers will be produced and ensure electricity distribution,’’ he said.

He added that the Ajah-Badore expressway would also be expanded to three lanes and linked up with the proposed fourth mainland bridge.
Mr. Fashola assured the people that the proposed fourth mainland bridge is already a reality, adding that design has been completed while the soil test was in progress.

Chief Henry Ajomale, the AC chairman in Lagos State regretted that about N800billion had been spent on electricity generation by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led Federal Government in the last eight years without any visible improvement.
"Our government will improve on this and pay N50, 000 to a constable in the Nigeria Police," he said.
When contacted on the violence, Lagos State police spokesman, Mr. Olubode Ojajuni, confirmed the death of at least one victim. He, however, denied that the thugs had any political affiliation, saying the mayhem had no political undertones.}

He said the Lagos State Commissioner, Mr. Emmanuel Adebayo, reacted immediately by deploying policemen to the area, adding that men of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba, were already probing the cause of the crisis.
The PPRO appealed to politicians in the state to be peaceful and always ensure that there were sufficient policemen at rallies, noting that there would always be people with sinister motives at such places.
The command’s spokesman further explained that politicians could help the police in their intelligence report gathering.
According to him, the police command was determined to unravel the cause of the crisis to forestall such violent acts in the future.
The PDP governorship candidate in Lagos State, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, has also denied any involvement in the incident.

In an interview with Daily Sun, Obanikoro attributed the crisis to the forceful seizure of a wide expanse of land belonging to the people by Governor Tinubu.
"I didn’t ask Tinubu to go and seize their land. I swear in the name of Allah, I didn’t even know that AC would hold a rally in Ajah," Obanikoro said.

While condemning the attack, the Lagos State government said it would work with relevant security agencies to ensure that the people of the state were able to exercise their democratic rights in an atmosphere devoid of violence and intimidation.
"All those who sponsor or perpetrate acts of political violence will be rigorously prosecuted and the law made to take its course," the government said in a statement issued by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Dele Alake.

According to the government, the thugs were reacting to the defection of the former PDP chairman in Eti Osa Local Government Area, Alhaji Abogun Atiku, to the AC.
The AC, which also condemned the attack, said the incident fitted "into a pattern of growing political violence instigated by the ruling party."

In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the violence, as well as the one unleashed on the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Ogun State last weekend, were being fuelled by the inciting statements of the PDP stalwarts, including President Olusegun Obasanjo.

"Since President Obasanjo said the forthcoming polls would be a ‘do or die’ affair,’ violence, harassment and intimidation of the opposition have been on the rise in his home state of Ogun as well as in Lagos," AC said.
The party said the perpetrators of violence in Ogun and Lagos were emboldened by the apparent backing of the powers-that-be in Abuja, adding: "They are taking a cue from the president."
AC said it was instructive that the 2003 general elections did not witness the current level of violence and wondered why the PDP had become so desperate to truncate the 2007 polls with a string of violence as well as illegal and unconstitutional acts.

"We call on the security agencies to rise up to the occasion and nip this violence in the bud before it becomes a part of the political landscape ahead of the crucial polls," it said.

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Comments (23)

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