The long awaited All Progressive Congress (APC) wards convention to elect ward leaders yesterday in Kaduna turned violent as hoodlums hijacked the ballot box and confronted each other with weapons such as machete, sticks and knives.
At the LEA Primary School, Malali, Kaduna-North Local Government area, where the violence was more visible, hoodlums and thugs freely engaged in a fight for all fight and several people sustain machete cuts.
One of the victims, Sunday Ishaya Dauda, said he is not a member of the APC and was not aware of the congress but that when he heard that his younger brother had gone to the convention venue, he dashed to the spot only to find his brother beaten by some group of people and was lying down in his own pool of blood; so he decided to intervene, a process which prompted the hoodlums to vex their anger on him and give him several machete cuts on his bank and hand.
Sunday and his younger brother, as at the time of filing in this report, were receiving treatment at the Malali Hospital.
Giving details of the incident, Hajiya Aisha Umar, an INEC official in Kaduna-North local government area, said she was detailed from the office to monitor and supervise the convention at Malali ward.
“We are all watching, as the voting materials were all put into a box and out of the blue, some hoodlums just ran into the crowd and snatched the ballot box but others ran after them and cut off one of the arms of the man who was running away with ballot box.
“I had to run for my life to a safe place; and we left our car, Honda car, with registration number, AE 793 HKY behind, and when we came back we saw that the car’s windscreen have been smashed.
“As I am talking to you, I have not come to reality as to what happened and as an INEC official, I can confidently tell you that there is no convention but rather, a gathering of hoodlums and thugs who came to wreak havoc on innocent people,” Hajiya Umar said.
Another eyewitness, Musa who lived opposite the Primary school said he personally help 10 people who sustained machete cuts into a security van.
When this reporter visited the scene, five Hi-lux vans filled up with military personnel and other security agents were scattered all around the primary school.
The leader of the team, an Army Colonel, who will not want his name mentioned, said several arrest has been made and taken to an undisclosed destination for interrogation.
One of the hoodlums, who identified himself as Umar Tanimu, said he came from Abakpa, which is a different ward form the Malali/Badarawa ward, to disrupt the convention. Tanimu was later whisked away by the security forces.
The Police Public Relation Officer, SP Aminu Lawan when contacted confirmed the attack and blamed hoodlums and thugs for the ugly incidence but said the security agents are on top of the situation.
In his own reaction, an APC chieftain in Kaduna state and a senatorial aspirant under the party, Comrade Shehu Sani blamed the violence on some people who are afraid of change and are ready to use any means to ensure that they forcefully impose their stooge on the people.
“These people are anti-progressive elements and are always trying to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. APC members are peaceful; but let me warn that they should not be underated”, Comrade Sani said.