May 26, (THEWILL) – Three delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Mariga Local Government Area of Niger state, have been killed by gunmen on the way to Minna, the Niger state capital for the gubernatorial primaries of the party on Thursday.
The chairman of the gubernatorial Electoral Committee and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, confirmed the sad incident shortly before the commencement of the rescheduled primaries at the party secretariat in Minna.
The delegates were killed while returning from Mariga after they had gone to obtain their means of identification, following postponement of the Primaries.
Some of the aspirants had in a protest on Wednesday, insisted that every delegate must show a means of identification apart from the party membership card before being allowed to vote.
Consequently, delegates were asked to provide their means of identification to authenticate their names, forcing the electoral committee to shift the primaries to Thursday (today).
The victims were, however, substituted to complete the number of delegates from the local government.
One of the delegates from Mariga, Shehu Haruna, said the incident happened between Mariga and Tegina.
According to him, “we left Minna in the late hours when PDP postponed the Governorship Primaries to Thursday, and that we should go and bring our voter’s card or any means of identification. We were returning from home, where we had gone to get our means of identification and on the road, we ran into bandits who opened fire on our vehicle from different directions.
“Though we were able to escape the scene since the driver was not hit by a bullet, four people, however, died instantly in the vehicle.”
He said the local government which shares border with Birnin-Gwari in Kaduna state has been under siege from gunmen who terrorised the area with impunity.
Haruna called for permanent security operatives in the area to safeguard travellers and communities in the area.
Meanwhile the Chairman of the party in the state, Barrister Tanko Beji, who condemned the killing of the party members, described the incident as very unfortunate.
He called on the state government to live up to its responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of citizens, especially during this period of elections in the country, where Nigerians are expected to move around for campaigns and other electoral activities.