AFTER a brief lull, violence returned yesterday to Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital city and scene of Tuesday’s trouble in which many properties were destroyed.
Soldiers and youths clashed on Abak Road. Many were injured.
Many vehicles, several tricycles and buildings were torched on Abak Road, Atiku Abubakar, Nwaniba, NEPA Line and Ikot Ekpene.
Nine persons were killed on Tuesday in Ikot Ekpene and many were injured as the governorship campaign train of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), led by its candidate, Senator John Udoedehe, his running-mate, Ime Umanah, and Joe Ukpong, the party’s senatorial candidate, was attacked by PDP loyalists.
ACN supporters returned to Uyo, Udoedehe’s town, to protest the killings. Then violence broke out.
Government vehicles were burnt by a mob at the State Secretariat. The GoodluckSambo campaign office on Abak Road was razed.
Governor Godswill Akpabio and Udoedehe spoke yesterday on the violence.
Akpabio said the mayhem was the handiwork of the opposition “to give the impression that Akwa Ibom State is insecure”.
Besides, he accused the perpetrators of bringing ethnic dimension into a political matter to create animosity among the various ethnic groups.
He appealed for calm, promising that government would work with security agencies to bring the suspects to book.
Speaking at a news conference yesterday, the Director-General of the UdoedeheUmanah Campaign Committee, Udoma Ekarika, blamed Akpabio for igniting the violence.
He said PDP supporters were instructed by Akpabio to stop opposition parties from campaigning in Annang.
Udoedehe had last week said nine of his supporters were injured at the ACN campaign rally in Ini Local Government Area when people threw missiles, including a machete, into the crowd.
Ekarika said the party would petition the Inspector General of Police (IGP) over the violence allegedly engineered by the PDP.
He said over 55 ACN supporters had been arrested and detained at the Police Command Headquarters, Ikot Akpanabia.
Police Commissioner Felix Uyana confirmed the arrest of 45 persons in connection with the violence.
He inspected the Fortune Schools, owned by Senator Aloysius Etok, where properties were destroyed.
The properties destroyed include several classroom blocks, 13 vehicles, generators and water dispensers.
Etok accused his political opponents of cashing in on the crises to attack his interests.
Etok urged the government to step up security during the elections to forestall more politically-motivated killings and violence.
He called for payment of compensation to those who lost valuables in the mayhem.
Ekarika said: “Akpabio is responsible for the violence and we will no be intimidated by his action. Let him import all the soldiers into Akwa Ibom, we wll hold elections and it will be free and fair
“Over 45 of our boys have been arrested and we will petition the Inspector General of Police.