Members of the State Working Committee of the Party were thrilled this afternoon when the Niger Delta Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio drove in a long convoy into the Party’s secretariat to inspect the level of devastation and damage inflicted Thursday night by thugs and hooligans on the building and furniture and other internal fittings at the Party’s offices.
In the company of the Minister were Senator Ita Solomon Enang, SSA to the President on Niger Delta Affairs; Pastor Efiong Akwa, ED ( Finance & Administration) NDDC; Mr Etekamba Umoren, Chief of Staff to the Minister, Arc Ubokutom Nya, APC Leader, Essien Udim LGA.
They were received by the Acting State Chairman, Dr. Ita Udosen; State Secretary, Mr Austin Ekanem, Organizing Secretary, Hon. Oboh and Party youth Leader, Steve Ntukekpo and several State Officers of the Party.
It was an emotional scene as the minister and his entourage walked around the complex and climbed into the offices, stepping on shards of glass doors and windows. Outside, the minister saw broken windows and doors. As he took the first flight of stairs to the first floor, the minister exclaimed: ‘’that’s a bullet hole’’, pointing to a damaged portion of the window at the first staircase landing. The thugs had broken the front glass door and the iron barricade to gain entry into the building.
Senator Akpabio went through the offices one by one, taking in the destruction, asking questions and shaking his head in shock and disbelief. All the offices were ransacked, doors broken drawers emptied and computers and office equipment carted away. ‘’This is a selected target. It couldn’t be a random attack’’, Secretary Austin Ekanem uttered in anguish.
After the tour, the minister, now solemn and emotional, asked: ‘’Chairman, can we manage and meet somewhere?’’ Quickly, a room was cleared and the minister, his entourage and the SWC huddled together after which they emerged to address the waiting party members and press.
Senator Akpabio thanked the Party leaders and members for their stoicism in the face of such unbelievable attacks on their offices. In particular, he thanked APC youths ‘’for not being too provoked to retaliate the damage to their Party’s offices’’.
He acknowledged that the damage is huge and extensive and announced that he was moving to visit other buildings and businesses in town that also came under attacks. He traced the genesis of the crisis and thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for meeting the demands of the protesters, but regretted the unfortunate turn of events. ‘’Across the nation the damage is very extensive and the loss of lives is colossal’’, Senator Akpabio said in a voice laden with emotion. There will be restitution for the losses, he added. The minister went called for peace in the state and the Niger Delta region, adding ‘’any crisis in the Niger Delta affects the national economy negatively’’.
After the minister’s speech, Dr. Udosen announced that the minister had made the following donations to help the Party cope with the challenges of the moment:
i). money to clear arrears of staff salaries and allowances for Party officials till December 2020
ii). Money to replace stolen generator
iii). Money to replace stolen computers and some office furniture/equipment
In his brief remarks, Senator Ita Enang condoled Party members on the loss and thanked God that no life was lost. He recalled his various assistance to the Party and announced a donation of N500,000 to further assist in replacing the stolen items and repairing the damaged portions of the offices.