Okrika violence: Peterside promises scholarships for slain policeman’s children

Okrika violence: Peterside promises scholarships for slain policeman’s children

•Rivers State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Dr Dakuku Peterside (third right); his running mate, Honourable Asita (third left) in a group photgraphy with a deligation of the House of Representatives during their condolence and solidarity visit to the APC candidate in Port Harcourt over last Tuesday’s Okrika violence ... at the weekend

Rivers State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside has assured that the four children of 33-year-old police corporal, Ifeanyi Okorie, who was shot dead in Okrika last Tuesday, will benefit from the government’s scholarships till they complete their education.

The children, aged six, four, three and two and their 30-year-old mother, Gift, a police corporal, would not be allowed to suffer, Peterside said.

The APC candidate spoke at the weekend in Port Harcourt, the state capital, at the home of the Okories, behind the Kala Police Station, off Ikwerre Road, when he and other party chieftains visited the widow.

Peterside, who was represented by his running mate, Okorie Honourable Asita, was accompanied by the state APC Chairman Davies Ibiamu Ikanya; the Director-General of Peterside’s Greater Together Campaign Organisation, Chief Victor Tombari Giadom; Commissioner for Agriculture, Emma Chindah and APC leader in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Chief Tony Okocha, among other eminent personalities.

Ifeanyi was shot dead last Tuesday at the playground of the National School, Okrika, venue of Peterside’s rally.

The peaceful ceremony was disrupted with explosions and gunshots by suspected thugs allegedly working for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Over 50 persons were injured and several property destroyed.

The body of the slain policeman is still at the morgue of the government-owned Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital (BMSH) in Port Harcourt. Arrangements are being made for his burial.

Peterside said: “Your (Gift’s) husband laid down his life for the sake of Nigeria and democracy. We did not expect what happened in Okrika. We went to campaign but some criminals killed your husband in the presence of all of us. Even though you are mourning and crying, we owe him a debt of gratitude for the role he played in Okrika.

“We will stand by you and your children. We will not forget you. We are all parents and we feel the weight of what happened. We feel the pressure that his death will expose you to. We know what you are going through. God will comfort you.

“We are pleading with you to take the responsibility with courage and boldness, thereby moving forward. You need to brace yourself to the challenge. We will support you.

“Your children will go to school and be trained properly. We are very proud of your husband.

“APC leaders and members do not want violence. Serving the people should not be by force but through elections. Let the people freely decide the persons they want to serve them, not through violence, shooting, killing people, bombing, burning vehicles and houses.”

Ikanya described the Okrika attack as unprovoked and condemnable.

The APC chairman said four people were being treated at the hospital in Port Harcourt while 20 injured persons had been discharged.

Mrs Okorie expressed gratitude to APC leaders for the visit and assistance.

The widow described her husband as a fighter, who was always  wanted peace to reign in Rivers State and Nigeria.

Mrs Okorie, an indigene of Cross River State, who married her late husband in 2008, said his death was painful.

The policewoman was optimistic that God would bring peace to Rivers State and other parts of Nigeria.

She said: “I knew him as a fighter. He always stood on the good side. He fought for peace to reign.”

Peterside, a member of the House of Representatives, his allies and supporters narrowly escaped death at the Okrika rally.

Okrika, the headquarters of Okrika Local Government Area, is the hometown of the wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Dame Patience, and the leader of the Niger Delta Vigilance Movement, “General” Ateke Tom.

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