The member representing Ogbadibo/Okpokwu/Ado federal constituency of Benue State, Hon. Hassan Saleh has condemned the killing of six persons at APC Congress meeting by armed thugs at Otukpo.
He described the invasion of the meeting by political thugs as undemocratic, barbaric and criminal, saying that their action was a primitive way of doing things.
Saleh in a statement at the weekend, he blamed the violence on an aspirant to the State Chairmanship of the party who he said was being imposed on the Senatorial district by some forces outside the zone.
Recalling the incident, the Legislator said: “We came to Otukpo for the meeting which was called to discuss the process of selecting a new State Chairman of the party in line with the directives from the National Secretariat of our party.
“I came in the company of the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh and other APC stakeholders of the Zone.
“We had a fruitful meeting where most stakeholders spoke their minds preferring to have fresh people to lead the party especially at the level of State Chairmanship which has been zoned to Benue South Senatorial District.
“To our shock and disbelief, the supposed family meeting turned bloody when about 150 thugs hired from other parts of the state arrived the venue of the meeting and began to attack participants with dangerous weapons. Gun shots were fired freely in all directions. Most of us narrowly escaped gun shots from these thugs.”
According to the lawmaker, those behind the violence were becoming desperate in their desire to maintain a stronghold on the party machinery, adding, however, that the plot will not work as the people were tired of the aspirant being put up by some forces.
“The people of Zone C (Benue South) have Said no to imposition of party officials. They want a popular person as Chairman who will help build the party to electoral victory in 2019, so no amount of intimidation, violence, thuggery or such other manipulative tactics will cow us, “ he stated.
Hon Saleh wondered why the particular Chairmanship aspirant who wants to lead the people would import thugs from other parts of the state to disrupt an important meeting of the party, saying the aspirant had shown that he lacked the credentials to lead the people.
“If we want to promote internal democracy in APC as preached by the President, Mohammad Buhari, we must follow the will of the majority of the people who favour a change in the leadership of the party in Benue state”, he stated.
Saleh condoled with the families of those who lost their loved ones during the attacks and prayed for the souls of the deceased.
“How do we account for the lives of the six people dead and several others injured in the name of struggle for political power?” the Lawmaker queried.
He urged security agencies to ensure the perpetrators of the dastardly incident were brought to book as soon as possible to serve as deterrent to other political leaders who might want to use violence as a means of achieving political goals and objectives in future.
“We call on the police and other law enforcement agencies to investigate the Otukpo incident and whoever is found guilty should face the law,” he advised.