PDP accuses police of dispersing its planned rally in Jigawa with tear gas at the behest of the APC

PEOPLES Democratic Party (PDP) officials in Jigawa State have accused the police of tear-gassing its members attempting to hold a rally in Gumel Local Government Area and thus preventing them from holding their gathering.


Yesterday, the Gumel chapter of the PDP in the state had hoped to flag off its zonal election campaign and gathered in the town centre to do so. However, according to party officials, the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) dispersed the gathering under the pretext that it had not applied for a police permit.


Alhaji Babandi Gumel, the chairman of the Jigawa North West chapter of the PDP and vice chairman and former state commissioner for information, said the party had written to the commissioner of police, seeking a permit 48 hrs before the campaign. He added that the police commissioner had formally granted permission for the rally to hold, so they were surprised by the actions of the NPF.


Alhaji Gumel said: “It was today in the morning that the commissioner of police called the chairman of our committee on security for the 2019 election campaign notifying him that we have to cancel our rally because he realised that it was a market day. For over 20 years, it has been our tradition to hold a rally on the same day and in history, we have never recorded any act of violence.


“Over 150,000 members have been mobilised for the rally from the state and visitors from outside have arrived too, so there is no way you can stop them because they have already started coming. It’s quite unfortunate when we came to the venue and police sealed the area and tear-gassed our members.”


He accused the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) of masterminding the issue, threatened to drag the party and state commissioner of police to court. Nigeria goes to the polls next month and the PDP and APC have been involved in a series of bitter spats in the run-up to the elections, with each side accusing the other of underhand tactics.