The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nigeria claimed Monday that 55 of its members had been killed in election violence in Rivers state ahead of Saturday’s governorship election. The opposition party also accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the southeast state of attacking its members and supporters, according to Nigerian newspaper the Guardian.
“PDP and its governorship candidate, Mr. Nyesome Wike, aided by the security agencies, have continued to kill and maim our members and supporters. We have lost 55 members of our party to political violence in Rivers state,” Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the national publicity secretary of the APC, said during a press conference in Abuja.
Mohammed alleged the attacks targeting APC members and supporters in Rivers state began prior to the presidential election on March 28 but have become “progressively worse” as the governorship election -- slated for April 11 -- draws near. “APC members have been subjected to persistent harassment and intimidation across the state,” he said at the press conference, according to Information Nigeria news site. “Over 150 prominent members have been victims of this unprovoked persecution.”
Rivers state was considered a flash point of violence and crisis in the run-up to the presidential election. The southeast state was the only state in Nigeria to massively protest for the cancellation of the national election results, according to Sahara Reporters. Rivers state Gov. Rotimi Amaechi of the APC claimed electoral preparations were compromised and that the PDP interfered with the poll results, News24 Nigeria reported last month.
Rivers state has been a PDP stronghold in the oil-rich south. President Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian, won 1.48 million votes, or 94.9 percent of the total votes, cast in the state during the presidential poll, according to Agence France-Presse. But the massive win was not enough to claim overall victory in the presidential election. Jonathan lost re-election by a couple of million votes to the APC’s candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim.