Six persons have been reported killed at a Caucus Meeting of Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, (APC) at Otukpo in Benue State, central Nigeria. It is still not clear why the Caucus meeting degenerated into bloodbath. But informed contacts hinted that it was a factional clash over arrangements towards the impending National Convention of the party next month. All the details are not in yet but the meeting reportedly turned bloody when Chief Audu Ogbeh, Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture as well as Honourable Hassan Saleh, a member of the Federal House of Representatives were reportedly declared persona non-grata on their arrival at the meeting. Hon. Saleh’s police escorts were understood to have fired into the atmosphere to scare away those throwing verbal assaults on the duo, asking him to go back to the PDP, (Nigeria’s main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party which lost power in the 2015 presidential contest).
According to an eye witness, thugs or hoodlums from different factions took control before reasonable elders could calm nerves, leading to the killing of the six. Intervention correspondent who went to the venue of the meeting at Double K Resort reported that everyone left the place immediately. As at the time of reporting, there had been no official statements from any quarters on the sad development about two hours ago.
Many senior citizens of Benue State are in the ruling party. Why the meeting degenerated into violence in the presence of such people is the puzzle in this development. Benue State has been the theater of herdsmen violence in January and March this year and now intra-party violence. Who will calm Benue State?