The Rivers State Government and chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Campaign Council for Rivers, Senator Lee Maeba, have expressed divergent views over the attack on his residence in Port Harcourt by gunmen.
Source reports that while Maeba claimed that one of the attackers called and told him that they had instructions from either the government or some quarters to kill him, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Chris Finebone, asked security agencies to probe the possibility of the incident being staged for political reasons.
Maeba condemned the attack on his residence on Professor Abowei Street, GRA, phase 3 in Port Harcourt by explaining that the assailants stormed his residence less than 30 minutes after he drove out of his compound.
Maeba, who represented the Rivers Southeast at the National Assembly, insisted that the hoodlums were after his life.
It was gathered that thugs numbering about 200 around 7am marched into the Senator’s residence, shot thrice into the air and gained access into the compound.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Those of them inside now tied the security man and started breaking the padlock of the fence from inside so that others can come in.
“I was talking to my brother, and they started destroying all the cars in Oga’s (senator’s) compound”.
The windscreens and glasses of four Toyota salon cars and one SUV in the compound were damaged by the hoodlums.
Maeba said that he was in Port Harcourt to see his family and attend some events.
He said: “This morning, there was some uneasy movement along this street. Some neighbours called my attention that they saw a lot of strange faces like a build-up of thugs.
“I don’t have a criminal life; my compound was empty. I am humble, I don’t do thuggery. I don’t participate in thuggery and I don’t hire thugs. So, I said what will thugs be doing on the street? And I dismissed it.
“Then, at about 9:00am, I said let me go and see my mother-in-law. But, before then, a young man called me with a number that I don’t know and told me that I have done him a favour before that I should be careful if I am at home.
“That they have instructions from some quarters to attack my house and attack me. But, I dismissed it because I don’t have problems with anybody.
“I just drove out with my security personnel to see my mother-in-law. As I entered my mother-in-law’s house, my phone was ringing and my nephew picked up the phone and said my house is under attack.
“They shot at the gate and forced the gate open. They climbed the second gate and tied up the security man. They entered the compound and were shouting ‘where is he? Where is he? Only one bullet will solve this Atiku problem.”
He further said: “My senior brother was standing somewhere there and they descended on him. The next thing they started doing was to use the boot of their guns to destroy the cars. They got to the front door (main house), hit at the door but they couldn’t succeed. So, they started retreating. You can see the destruction.
“My worry is what is my offence that people will come to my compound ? Atiku does not live here. I only work for Atiku, yes. I am an Atiku’s supporter. What has that got to do with attacking my house in a bid to kill me? This is democracy and I am a democrat.”
Rivers Commissioner of Police, Okon Effiong, said a full-scale investigation had been ordered to unravel the motive behind the incident.
But the Rivers State Government said it had seen isolated reports suggesting that some persons were purportedly being physically molested for political reasons.
The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Chris Finebone, asked security agencies to exercise the highest level of diligence, discreetness and carefulness in their work to sift the wheat from the chaff in order to arrive at a credible conclusion.
Finebone said: “It is not strange to find politicians staging high-level melodrama to either cover up their tracks or muddle up the waters to achieve a preconceived narrative aimed at hoodwinking the public for political reasons, especially at a time like this.
“Today, a report by former Senator Lee Maeba surfaced on social media that he got a call from a young man. And the caller purportedly, in his own words said, ‘that they have instructions from either government or some quarters to attack my house.
“This makes it obvious that Senator Maeba should help security agencies in unraveling the purported attack on his house and those behind it. It is not enough to blame such an attack on ‘either government or some quarters.’ He should try and remember exactly whom the caller said sent him (the caller).
“The Rivers State Government, working with security agencies, will continue to render all possible assistance for security agencies to ensure safety of life and property in Rivers State at all times”.