The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has restated its demand for the amendment of relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to allow states more control of security issues in their respective domains.
The party is also demanding for a comprehensive investigation into the Saturday’s explosion attack on the Christian Universal Church, Port Harcourt, River State capital, steered by father of Governor Nyesom Wike.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement says his party condemns the dastardly attack on the church, which it believes was well planned and targeted to causing harm to worshippers and persons close to Governor Wike, particularly, his father.
Suspected hoodlums numbering five allegedly sneaked into the Christian Universal Church International on 25 Azikiwe Street Mile, 3 Diobu, on Saturday night and detonated the explosives suspected to be dynamite.
Reports say a significant part of the church which was damaged by the explosion, created panic in the area. Interestingly, three suspects in connection with the attack were said to have been apprehended by the police.
The police say the gunmen’s escape plan was blocked after men of a local security outfit in the area noticed strange movements and swooped in.
Assistant Chief Security Officer of the Azikiwe Street Security, Collins Johnbull, is claiming that one of his men was hit by a bullet in the process of chasing the suspects and currently receiving treatment in the hospital.
According to Johnbull, “on Saturday, November 28, 2020, while I was on my duty post, we observed some movements around 8 pm to 9 pm and we were on the alert, before then we saw some strange faces, about five of them, that entered into the governor’s father’s church, and we thought they were church members having their normal evening programme, but we were suspicious of them because of the way they were moving.
“About five minutes after the boys entered the church, there was an explosion, we heard a banging noise like that of a bomb from the church, and we immediately approached the church and saw them (the suspects) jumping out of the church wearing masks and carrying guns and started shooting at my men.
“By God’s grace, we were able to apprehend three of the criminals that attacked the church, while two escaped. We did everything in our power to apprehend the hoodlums, as we are talking now, one of my men who was hit by a bullet is receiving treatment.”
However, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement says the party is disturbed by the intentions of the attackers in detonating an explosive in a religious place particularly given the large number of persons that usually gather at such places.
‘’While we demand for a thorough investigation into the attack as well as prosecution of all those involved, we hold, as a party, that the time has come, more than ever in our contemporary history, for the amendment of our extant laws to allow state governors to be in charge of the security of their respective states.
‘’Our party, however, commends the people of River state for their alertness, which led to the arrest of the attackers. Such courageous act by the people also points to the need to allow greater participation of communities and state governments in the handling of security issues in their environment’’, the party said.
It commends Governor Wike for his efforts towards ensuring the security of his state despite the daunting challenges, and accordingly urged Governor Wike, members of the Christian Universal Church and the people of Rivers not to be deterred by this attack but to remain at alert especially at this critical time.