The campaign flag-off of the All Progressives Congress ( APC ) in Lagos on Tuesday ended abruptly as violence broke out mid-way into the well-attended programme.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that hoodlums suspected to be members of the National Union Road Transport Workers (NURTW) invaded the Skypower Ground Ikeja venue with guns, daggers and other dangerous weapons, engaging one another in a bloody factional fight.
The situation sent panic across the campaign ground as party members ran in different directions to avoid being hit by bullets being fired indiscriminately by the hoodlums.
Security operatives had a hectic time controlling the situation.
Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode, who was making a speech, had to leave the stage immediately and was guarded out of the venue together with his deputy, Mrs Idiat Adebule, the APC governorship candidate, Mr Babajide Sanwoolu, and other prominent members of the party.
Several people were injured in the violence, including two journalists who sustained minor bullet wounds.
NAN correspondent who was at the venue could not ascertain if there was any loss of life at the time of filing this report.
In the ensuing confusion, many people were dispossessed of their phones, money and other valuables by opportunistic pick-pockets and other criminals.
NAN reports that a large number of party faithful were seen trekking to their various homes as there was a heavy vehicular traffic in the area because of the violence.
Similarly, the International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria is highly concerned about the reported gun-attack on journalists who were covering the Lagos State rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos on Tuesday, January 8, 2019.
In a statement signed by Director of IPC, Lanre Arogundade and obtained by THELENZ
He said those that were affected by the unwelcome activities of gun wielding elements were the group political editor of The Nation Newspaper, Emmanuel Oladesu, NewsTelegraph correspondent, Temitope Ogunbanke and Ibile Television cameraman, Abiodun Yusuf.
The News Editor of The Nation confirmed the incident to IPC stating that Mr. Oladesu was hit by a stray bullet and was receiving treatment in a hospital although in stable condition.
The IPC Director also reminded all political parties that the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage obligates them to ensure the safety of journalists covering their activities including campaigns.
He, therefore calls on the Lagos APC to urgently take appropriate steps to apprehend the alleged perpetrators of the bizarre attack with a view to handing them over to the law enforcement agencies for immediate prosecution, also as provided by the Code of Election Coverage.
Journalists covering the elections should also bear in mind that they constitute dangerous assignments requiring them to take insurance cover especially from their employees.
Arogundade appealed to the security agents on electoral duty, especially the Police, to consider the protection of journalists as part of their responsibility as envisaged by and indeed provided for by the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage.
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