•ACN leaders visit governor, accident victims •NUJ declares one-week mourning •Fayemi, Alaafin condole with reporters
ORGANISED Labour yesterday condemned last Saturday’s ‘attack’ on the convoy of Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
The Labour’s call came on a day Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) leaders, including former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and National Chairman Chief Bisi Akande, visited the governor.
Three reporters in the travelling party were killed and several others injured.
In a statement in Kaduna by its Vice President, Issa Aremu, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) called for an investigation into the incident.
Aremu said the ‘attack’ on the convoy is coming after what he called “cyber-orchestrated personal attack” on the governor as well as open threat to him by the opposition party in the state.
The statement entitled: “Attack on Comrade Oshiomhole: We must de-militiarise our polity” reads: “We read with great shock an unprovoked seeming orchestrated attack on Governor Oshiomhole.
“His convoy was attacked on the Warrake–Auchi road. Three reporters were reportedly killed with many others injured, including security details.
“We condemn personalisation of political discourse. We need contestation on policies and issues rather than attack on persons.
“In a related development, there was also alleged threat by former Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Iyiola Omisore, to “attack, stop and disarm” the convoy of the Osun State Governor , Rauf Aregbesola.
“All these call for urgent and thorough investigation by the security agencies.
“We call on all political actors to play to the rule. We need battle of ideas and not personal attacks.”
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Edo State has declared a week of mourning for its three members.
It directed its members to wear a customised wrist-band throughout the period.
Besides the three reporters who died in the accident, another reporter, Chukwudi Ogu, was killed by unknown gunmen three weeks ago.
The victims are: Olatunji Jacob and George Okosun both of the Independent Television and Radio Benin and Fidelis Ohani, a camera man with the Africa Independent Television (AIT).
A statement by the chairman of the council yesterday, Friday Obanor, said a mass will be conducted by Rev. Angel Nwankwo today at the NUJ Press Centre.
Prayers will also be offered for the protection of reporters in the state.
At the NUJ Press Centre, sympathisers called yesterday to condole with the union.
Those who visited included a member of the House of Representatives, Rasaq Belo-Osagie, Speaker of the House of Assembly Uyi Igbe and the Coalition of Save Nigeria and Youth Coalition Bodies for Oshiomhole.
Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi commiserated with his Edo counterpart, over the accident in which some reporters died.
Fayemi in a condolence letter issued in Ado-Ekiti, urged Oshiomole not to lose faith in God or be discouraged by the incidence.
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, also commiserated with Oshiomhole and the NUJ.
A statement by his Media Assistant, Azeez Fehintola, quoted the monarch as describing the incident as unfortunate and a big blow to the government of Edo and the NUJ.
The Alaafin said: “I use this medium to commiserate with the governor and the NUJ on the unfortunate auto crash.
In the ACN team were former governors of Ogun and Ekiti states, Chief Segun Osoba and Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo as well as the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. They were conducted round the wards at the Central Hospital, Benin City, where some of the victims are being treated.
Oshiomhole and the ACN leaders asked the medical personnel doctors and nurses on the state of health of the victims. Other patients, who were elated at the visit of the governor used the opportunity to present their own litany of demands.
The governor thanked his guests and told them the incident smacks of foul play and a premeditated plan to harm him.
His words: “Just a little over eight minutes after leaving the Afuze venue of the rally, where many PDP members joined ACN, a lorry suddenly emerged, heading straight for my car.
“Only providence saved me from being hit. The lorry hit the vehicle conveying security details, which immediately somersaulted and then hit the bus conveying the press crew.
“It’s unfortunate that we have lost three young men with young families. We are determined to get to the root of the matter. Our opponents will expect that we’ll be frightened by this incident but we’ll take our report card to every village and every hamlet to ensure that the reporters do not die in vain”, he said.
Akande said: “We see democracy as a thing of joy but we now see that the other side is resorting to killing and maiming. We pray that the good work you are doing in Edo State is not allowed to come to nought”.