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Violence mars PDP congress in Niger

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Minna- Violence erupted yesterday as  the  Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  in Niger State got set to commence its state congress.

Trouble started after suspected thugs  rooting for the  two top state chairmanship contenders engaged in a free-for-all.

The ensuing confusion led to the   cancellation of the congress.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said a  former Deputy Majority  Leader in the House of Representatives, Alhaji Baba Agaie, was manhandled and whisked out of the venue of the congress by heavily armed security men.

As early as 7a.m., the party  state secretariat at Western Bypass in Minna, had been taken over by supporters of the two contenders despite heavy security presence.

When the atmosphere became tensed for any congress to hold, the electoral committee, led by Malam Mohammed Imam from party’s National Headquarters, had to be whisked away by security agents.

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Following the confusion, the electoral committee issued a statement in Minna on Saturday signed by Imam.

According to Imam, due to uncertain security situation at the PDP state secretariat, venue of the rescheduled state congress the congress had been postponed.

He said that the congress was postponed after unsuccessful attempts were made to get the thousands of party supporters and other persons gathered at the precinct of the venue to disperse before the commencement of the voting process.

He said that the committee would report to the National Working Committee (NEC) which would determine the next line of action in accordance with the constitution of the party.

The two main contenders are Mr Tanko Benji, outgoing chairman of the party seeking second term, and Alhaji Mukhtar Ahmed.

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