PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (Reuters) - Unknown assailants threw dynamite at an opposition coalition secretariat in Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta on Friday, destroying the building but not claiming any casualties, police and party officials said.
“Around 3 a.m. today the youths attacked the APC secretariat at Ngor. The entire building was razed to the ground in the fire. I‘m calling on the commissioner of police to investigate the matter,” local opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) official Ikwut Emmanuel said of the incident in Rivers state.
Ahmed Muhammad, a police spokesman for Rivers, confirmed the incident but had no details as it was still being investigated, he said.
Nigeria holds presidential and governorship elections on Feb. 14 that are likely to be its closest and hardest-contested since the end of military rule in 1999, with President Goodluck Jonathan facing off against former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari of the APC.
Violence is rising ahead of the polls, and Rivers state, where outgoing Governor Rotimi Ameachi defected to the APC in 2013, is considered one of the major flashpoints.
Nigeria has a history of political thuggery and intimidation that have often marred its polls. The insurgency by Islamist group Boko Haram, which wants to establish an Islamic state in northeast Nigeria, is also surging ahead of the election.
Reporting by Emmanuel Okolie; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Hugh Lawson