By Henry Umoru & Peter Duru
MAKURDI—No fewer than 14 persons were, yesterday, injured while 15 houses including Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, secretariat and the house of a former Commissioner for Sports, Mr. Benjamin Vember, were razed at Annune in Tarka Local Government Area of Benue State, following a clash between PDP and Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, supporters.
Vanguard gathered that most of the burnt houses and property belonged to notable members of PDP in the area.
Eyewitness said the crisis started two days ago at Asukriya community, few kilometres from Annune, home town of the Senate Minority Leader, Senator George Akume, where supporters of ACN had gone for a rally preparatory to Saturday’s local government polls.
Borno PDP on Boko Haram link
This is even as the Borno State chapter of PDP, yesterday, denied any link with members of the Boko Haram Islamist sect, and gave the Borno State government 14 days to withdraw its allegation that PDP had links with the group, as announced by the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Information and Culture, Mr. Inuwa Bwala, or face court action.
It asked security operatives to immediately arrest and interrogate Mr. Bwala to enable him disclose the names of those causing mayhem in Borno State since he claimed to know those involved.
Meanwhile, in Benue State, it was alleged that after the ACN rally, the members matched through the streets in the town, harassing anyone identified to belong to PDP.
An eyewitness said: “The action forced members of PDP to defend themselves. But they were overpowered by the mob, which matched to the PDP secretariat and set it ablaze, before burning a car and other houses belonging to some PDP stalwarts in the area.”
According to him, the mob also made a bonfire on the Makurdi-Gboko road, disrupting traffic for several hours before the police dispersed them.
In his reaction, state secretary of ACN, Mr. Tersoo Jonathan accused PDP of initially attacking supporters of his party, saying the PDP supporters unjustly disrupted their campaigns at Asukriya.