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Protester’s death: Rivers APC kicks as police invite gov candidate



The Rivers State Police Command on Tuesday invited the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Tonye Cole, for questioning over the death of a Peoples Democratic Party’s supporter who was allegedly shot during a protest in Port Harcourt on Monday.

Supporters of the PDP had protested at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission along Aba Road on Monday, demanding a joint inspection of documents used for the March 18 governorship election but the protest turned violent.

Cole, accompanied by the state APC Chairman, Emeka Beke, and few other party leaders, arrived the GRA junction area of Aba Road on Monday to proceed to the INEC office to keep a date with the promise by the commission for them to inspect the Certified True Copy documents to enable the party proceed to the tribunal.

On hearing that Cole was nearby, the protesters raced towards his direction and pelted him with pure water sachets and stones; but for his security details who shielded him, he could have been mobbed.

Cole in an interview with newsmen later said, “They slapped me, they pushed me, threw stones at me and I was injured on my back.”

A clash ensued between Cole’s security men and the rampaging youths, resulting in indiscriminate gunshots by security operatives to disperse the crowd, even as it was gathered that some thugs also shot indiscriminately and the man was hit in the crossfire.

The injured PDP supporter bled profusely on his left leg and was rushed to the hospital for treatment.

But speaking to our correspondent, the State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Sydney Gbara, said the injured man later died in the hospital.

“From the information we are hearing now, the man is dead,” he said.

When contacted, the State Commissioner of Police, Okon Effiong, confirmed in a text response that Cole had been invited, saying, “It is just an invitation.”

On Monday, Cole was seen in a video shouting and calling on the Commissioner of Police to come and rescue him at the APC secretariat, saying some thugs laid siege on the party’s office along Woji Road, GRA, in Port Harcourt.

Meanwhile it was gathered that a formal letter inviting Cole was sent to the state secretariat of the APC.

The State APC Publicity Secretary, Darlington Nwauju, who confirmed that Cole was invited for questioning, questioned why the police had failed to invite the PDP leaders named in the attack on its governorship candidate, Cole.

“It is shocking that the police are inviting our candidate, Cole, for questioning over a said killing. What is the identity of the person killed?

“They attacked and chased us away. They are now inviting him (Cole) for questioning. How? Does it add up?” he queried.

On his part, the State APC Chairman, Chief Emeka Beke, noted that though he had yet to see any invitation, it was laughable.

Beke said, “There were just seven of us and they were many. They did not even allow us to get to the INEC office. Just by the GRA junction, they started attacking us. At what point will anybody kill somebody?”

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