Lawmaker identified as Hon. Miriam Hart, Local Govt chairman, PDP Chairman and many others have escaped death by whisker after masked gunmen stormed a burial ceremony at Finiapiri-ama village of Banigo Isile-Ogono community in Bonny Local Government Area, Rivers State, on Saturday, September 12.
The incident which left several persons injured and abducted including politicians, happened at the burial ceremony of a prominent citizen, Amaopusenibo K.M Banigo.
It was gathered, that the leader of the Bonny Legistrative Assembly, Hon. Miriam Hart is currently battling for survival at an undisclosed hospital following the attack while four persons were whisked away by the gunmen.
The gunmen arrived at the ceremony and began to shoot at the guests a few minutes after the deceased was interred.
The gunmen left the scene with some captives. However, some high-profile guests, who were in attendance such as the Chairman of Bonny Local Government, David Rogers Irimagha, lawmaker representing Bonny Constituency in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Abinye Blessing Pepple, and People’s Democratic Party, PDP Chairman, Daniel Tamunoopudo Buruwi Wilcox, escaped by luck.
Other survivors include the Deputy Leader of the 8th Assembly, Hon. Dipinye Jumbo, the Chief Whip of the 8th Assembly, Hon. Fiberesima Pepple, councillor representing Ward 2, Hon. Kingston Robert Hart,party faithfuls, family members and guests.
One Sunny Hart, Allison and Theophilus were named among the abducted victims. A source said that Sunny is the husband of the first daughter of the deceased, who is a Senior Magistrate with the Rivers State Judiciary.
The Special Assistant to the Chairman on Media and Publicity Kingsley Jumbo, confirmed the incident in a statement.
“The unfortunate incident happened at Finapiri Ama (Amauda) village in Banigo Ishilegono where they attended the burial ceremony of an elder statesman in Bonny Kingdom, Late Amaopusenibo Kenneth Miebaradima Kalada Banigo when masked gunmen arrived and began shooting sporadically from the jetty.” he said.
“The lawmaker, local government chairman, together with other guests tried to get to the waterfront to board their boats and escape. The gunmen later abducted a number of persons and took them away into the nearby creeks. The matter has been reported to security agencies.” he added.
Spokesperson of the State Police Command, Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed that gunmen disrupted the funeral by shooting sporadically but fled on sighting a detachment of policemen.
He said armed policemen had taken over the entire Bonny to avoid a reprisal attack and further breakdown of law and order, adding investigations had begun to unmask the identities of the gunmen and their motives.
Omoni, however, said the police could not confirm the case of abductions because nobody had reported such matter to their division.