Uneasy at APC HQs over protest threat by aggrieved members
Uneasy calm pervaded the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, as battle-ready police personnel took over the entire Blantyre Street housing the ruling party secretariat.
Th security agents loaded in no fewer than six patrol vehicles arrived in the early hours to avert planned protest by members of the party, who were aggrieved over the outcome of the congresses across the country. The security detail initially barricaded all road along the street and stopped vehicular and human movements. Not willing to leave anything to chance, the security was further reinforced by 1.39pm when personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS) Special Force stormed the secretariat on a patrol van and power bikes to provide backups.
The situation was so tensed that women party members from Bauchi State that accompanied their leader on solidarity visit were not allowed access into the Buhari House for hours between 10am and 3.00pm.
The security personnel later relaxed their surveillance when the protesters did not show up by afternoon and allowed passers-by and motorists to access the road without subjecting them to screening or interrogation. They, however, strategically positioned their patrol vehicles at both Valencia Hotel and Barcelona Hotel ends of the street and at the back of the secretariat to forestall any attempt by the protesters to access the party headquarters.
A semblance of calmness, however, returned to the secretariat by evening when the deployed security agents thinned down.
A member of the party’s internal security said the massive deployment was a response to threat from certain “disgruntled” party members.
“We had security report that some people have plans to come and protest here. The national leadership had to order the deployment of police and other security agencies to forestall any breakdown of law and order.
“This is the second time we are seeing this kind of deployment at the secretariat. It actually showed that some party members are really aggrieved and there is a limit to what they can do to continue to stop the protesters. The committee should also know that they have overstayed their welcome and should be ready to conduct the national convention. They cannot be there forever. From six months to one year and still counting,” the source said.
Asked why the deployment, the National Secretary, APC Caretaker Committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, said the party’s national leadership did not want to be caught off guard.
“Oh, nothing is happening. They have been there several times whenever we need to safeguard the secretariat. You are not in position to read security reports, so you cannot ask me. If something happens now, they will say what were they doing.
“There are so many things that have to do with security that you are not aware of. It is a routine thing, the police liase with FCT Minister, the IG and other people if they have any information. Not only here, if you are coming to Abuja, going to the airport, we have duty to protect the people who work here, we read security reports and I am sure you are fully aware we have every security agency in our secretariat. We are only acting on security reports, there is no cause for alarm.”
There had been several instances of police occupation of the APC secretariat to forestall plans of aggrieved members protesting the outcome of the congresses across the country to disrupt activities.
Virtually in all the states of the federation, the party has been engulfed in crisis, resulting in the emergence of parallel ward, local governments and state executives. The situation is the same from Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Kano, Enugu, Abia, Imo, Osun, Ogun, Kwara, Delta to Gombe and other States.
Within two week, protesters from Bauchi State had grounded the secretariat to demand urgent intervention of the national leadership to the crisis rocking the party in the state. Aggrieved party members from Oyo State had equally stormed the party headquarters to demand the reconciliation of the warring factions in the state.