Thugs ‘invade’ SDP NEC meeting venue in Abuja

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On Wednesday, police officers reportedly foiled an attempt to disrupt the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Abuja.

Suspected thugs reportedly invaded the venue of the meeting at Merit House, Maitama District, Abuja.

Party members from all over the country were reportedly chased away, and some were injured.

Following the incident, Supo Shonibare, the party’s acting national chairman, left the scene and reported the incident to Maitama police station.

Shonibare was then escorted to the scene by police officers whose presence dispersed the thugs.

TheCable understands that officers were on the ground earlier to provide security at the meeting, but left around 8 a.m. to provide security support to Dei Dei officers where a crisis erupted.

Speaking to NEC members when normalcy was restored, Shonibare blamed the attack on a faction of the party.

“It seems that people are now trying to usurp the leadership of the SDP and are now resorting to violence, and that has never been our practice in the SDP,” he said.

“They resort to lies; they ignored the legal process, so our only option now is to report what is happening to our lawyers.

“We have done our deliberations on the upcoming event, which we should assume we have all accepted the recommendations of the deliberations of the National Working Committee for Conventions.

“We will also seek legal reparations for those who were injured during the invasion of the meeting. We will report this matter to the police ourselves and discuss the matter with our lawyers.

“So I thank you all for coming from various parts of the country, east and west and I know some of you who have participated in previous deliberations have never left us, but it is important that we met as an exco national and we approved all the programs of the party, the state conventions and the national convention.

“I thank you all and we will continue to be in contact with you on the development of the party.”

The SDP is embroiled in a leadership crisis, with two groups competing for control of the party, which has turned into a legal battle.

Shonibare leads the group which claims to be the “authentic leadership” of the party, while the faction led by Shehu Gabam is recognized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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