The Abia Police Command has confirmed that one person was killed during the violence at Wednesday’s chairmanship primaries of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the state. At least three have been injured.
The command’s spokesman, Ogbonnaya Nta, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the deceased, identified as Onyemaechi, was a member of staff of Isialangwa North Local Government Area venue of the election.
The deceased died in a fire at the Chairman’s office when the it was reportedly set ablazeby aggrieved delegates. Three other persons were injured in the fire.
A witness said the chaos started when some delegates who came for the poll at the council headquarters in Okpuala-Ngwa, rejected the list presented by the party officials that came to conduct the exercise.
It was learnt that the group, which threatened to disrupt the exercise, alleged that the list was “doctored” to favour a particular aspirant.
The witness said that in the midst of the crisis that ensued, “somebody sneaked into the chairman’s office with a jerry can of petrol and set the place ablaze”.
“The intention was to burn the disputed list,” the source said, adding that the fire escalated, killing one person on the spot.
Mr. Nta said that three other occupants of the office sustained serious burns and were rushed to hospital for treatment.
He said that the command had commenced investigation into the matter. The police have arrested four persons in connection with the mayhem.
The primaries, which were organised to elect the party’s flag bearers for the December 17 local government election in the state, was put on standstill in most of the 17 council areas due to violence.
There were also allegations of attempts by some powerful politicians to impose their “anointed’’ candidates.
The Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Abia, Don Ubani, denied the allegations of violence in a telephone interview, but admitted that there were “minor skirmishes during the exercise in some local government areas.”