The gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Taraba state, Sani Danladi, on Thursday, narrowly escaped assassination by irate youths in Wukari Local Government Area of the state.
The irate youth, suspected to be loyal to the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the state, attacked the convoy of the APC candidate on their way to Ibi Local Government Area of the state.
It was also gathered that Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Hassan Ardo, Chairman of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Babangida Nguroje, who were also in the governorship candidate’s convoy narrowly escaped lynching by the irate youth.
An eye witness who spoke with our correspondent said that the incident occurred when Mr Danladi, who is currently on a campaign tour of the Southern Senatorial District of the state, ran into the youths in their numbers who barricaded the Ibbi roundabout area of the local government.
Although casualty figures are not yet ascertained, our correspondent gathered that scores of people were shot, including the protocol officer of the governorship candidate, one Zayyad.
Corroborating, an APC youth leader, Habu Pari, who sustained injuries on his head, said that the youths who were armed with dangerous weapons opened fire on the convoy.
According to him, the youth injured several persons and subsequently burnt down about ten vehicles after looting personal belongings of the occupants who had fled for their lives.
“Initially, we were rescued at the DSS office here in Wukari, but all to no avail. In front of the office, they burnt down some of our vehicles.
“They mounted several roadblocks to attack us and as I am talking to you this evening, at least 15 persons are injured some with bullets wounds.
“In fact, for now the whereabouts of the APC governorship candidate and the Ambassador could not be ascertained as some of the persons on the convoy had escaped to the police area command in Wukari,” Mr Pari added.
Also corroborating, the spokesperson of the APC in the state, Aaron Artimas, who was at the scene of the incident said it was a well-organized attack orchestrated by the PDP government in the state.
“Because, while we were on our way to Wukari, we got information that the Chairman of Wukari Local Government Area, Adi Daniel, had allegedly sponsored some youths to burn down APC billboards and facilities in the area.
“So it is not surprising that they have taken their frustration to this extent of organizing the youths to attack our convoy and attempt to assassinate the Ambassador and our governorship candidate,” he said.
He further confirmed that about 10 vehicles in the convoy were looted and burnt down and several others vandalized and looted.
In the meantime, efforts to get the Divisional Police Officer in Wukari as well as the Police Spokesman in Jalingo, David Misal, proved abortive.
But the spokesman later sent SMS to this reporter, saying: “I can’t pick call now, call me later.”
However, while reacting to the development, the senior special assistant to Governor Darius Ishaku on Media and publicity, Bala Danhabu, deny the involvement of his boss in the Wukari attack.
Mr Danhabu who debunk the accusations on the governor for sponsoring an attack on the APC campaign train said Mr Ishaku recently sign a peace accord among other political candidates in the state to maintain peaceful campaign and subsequent violent free polls.
“The attack was necessitated by the invasion of Wukari today by the gubernatorial candidate of APC with political thugs causing a breakdown of law and order in the town.
“This is a case of political thuggery between the APC and its aggrieved members of the United Democratic Party UDP.
“We have imposed 6 am to 6 pm curfew in Wukari and it’s environs to prevent break down of law and order till further notice,” Mr Danhabu said.