Up to 28 persons reportedly lost their lives across the country as the gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections took centre stage on Saturday, April 11, 2015.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said in a statement that sixty-six reports of violent incidents targeted at polling units, election officials, materials and voters were recorded, with Rivers state having the highest (16).
ENCOMIUM Weekly followed happenings as they unfolded…
GUNSHOTS IN OSUN AS GUNMEN TAKEOVER POLLING ZONE
Gunmen believed to be working for the Peoples Democratic Party, early on Saturday took over the Town Hall Polling Zone in Ilase-Ijesa area of Obokun Local Government Area in Osun State. It was believed the purpose was to scare away prospective voters.
Though Police and other security agents came to the scene to restore order, during which the thugs dispersed, the gunmen returned shortly after the security agents departed.
Sporadic gunshots were heard shortly after this, which forced many prospective voters to scamper to safety.
COMMISSIONER’S HOUSE, INEC RAC CENTRE, POLICE VEHICLE RAZED AS 8 DIE IN RIVERS
The house of the Commissioner for Women Affairs in Rivers state, Mrs. Joeba West was reportedly set ablaze in Buguma on
Saturday, April 11.
Reports also say that INEC Registration and Accreditation Centre (RAC) in Kalabari National College, also in Buguma, was torched in the orgy of violence in the state. In a similar development, a Police patrol vehicle was also razed in Buguma.
Further, eight persons, including a police officer, were killed before voting started in the state. The policeman was killed in the morning at the Rex-Lawson area of the old Port Harcourt Township even before accreditation commenced.
The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ahmad Muhammad, confirmed the killing, adding that there were traces of violence before the policeman died.
3 KILLED, 20 ARRESTED IN AKWA IBOM STATE
Three people were killed during the gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections in Akwa Ibom State on Saturday, State Commissioner of Police, Gabriel Achong, has said.
Mr. Achong, who spoke on Channels Television in a telephone interview from Uyo on Sunday, April 12, 2015, added that 20 people were arrested for various electoral offences across the state. The arrests, according to him, were for various crimes including ballot box and election materials snatching.
Election materials were snatched in Eket and Ibesikpo Asutan districts but were later recovered by the police.
THUGS BURN BALLOT PAPERS AND BOXES IN KANO
Thugs suspected to be hired by unscrupulous politicians burnt ballot papers and attempted to snatch election materials in Madobi and Kibiya local government areas of Kano State. The state Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Idris, confirming the incidents said that violence broke out at Kaura-Mata in Madobi local government area where political thugs burnt ballot papers and boxes.
SOLDIERS ALLEGEDLY GUN DOWN 3 IN KEBBI
Soldiers allegedly shot dead three people in Suru local government of Kebbi State after pandemonium broke out during the polls. Reports said the incident occurred at Bayan Dutsi when voters suspected the INEC supervisor in the area of malpractices and descended on him, beating him to coma. Soldiers were called in to restore order, but the angry voters threw stones at the soldiers, prompting them to open fire, killing three.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Nafiu Abubakar, confirmed the incident adding it would be investigated.
POLICEWOMAN MANHANDLED; COMMISSIONER’S CAR IMPOUNDED AS VIOLENCE MAR DELTA POLLS
Voting in some polling units in Otor-Ogor, Ughelli North were cancelled when a fight erupted among supporters of Labour Party. In Omadino, Warri South Constituency II, some armed men reportedly chased away voters who were on the queue for the exercise. There were allegations of mass thumb printing which led to violence in Edjekota, unit 11.
At Ebedeni Ward 6, Ndokwa East Local Government Area, some armed men reportedly eloped with ballot papers and boxes. A policewoman who was on guard at the centre was manhandled while her beret and identity card were forcibly taken away.
At St. John Bosco’s Catholic Church, Ward 6, Oshimili South LGA, some unidentified soldiers impounded the official car of the Commissioner for Information, Mr Chike Ogeah, at a polling station.
PDP LGA CHAIRMAN, THREE OTHERS KILLED IN EBONYI
The Peoples Democratic Party Chairman in Ishielu LGA, Emeka Nwaorie, was killed by suspected thugs in Ezza-Egu community. In similar developments, a Channels TV correspondent on assignment escaped attack from hoodlums that disrupted the electoral exercise with machetes, guns and dangerous weapon in Onu-Nkwuda community, Ameka ward in Ikwo LGA.
In Ishi Nkwo-Ukawu ward Polling Unit 003 and 007 in Onicha LGA, electoral materials were taken away by unknown persons, who attacked INEC ad hoc staff and officials.
At Ngambo-Ukawu ward in Onicha LGA, after the accreditation, some unknown persons who identified themselves as party agents disrupted voting and made away with the electoral materials including ballot papers and two ballot boxes. The materials were later recovered with the efforts of some vigilant voters who ran after them. The assistant presiding officer said voting would not continue because the other INEC officials had scampered to safety and he was the only official present.
In Noyo Ikwo LGA, one Mike Ojon was killed by suspected thugs; while another Ocho Monday was stabbed to death for confronting suspected thugs involved in illegal thumb-printing at Ohage Village Square, Effium ward 1 in Ohaukwu LGA. The Collation Officer in Nkalagu, Ishielu LGA was also reportedly killed.
3 THUGS FEARED DEAD IN CAR CRASH IN IMO
There were heavy shootings in most of the polling units in Owerri North, Aboh Mbaise, Onuimo, Oguta, Oru East and Ohaji-Egbema Council areas, as well as ballot box snatching.
At Okwele, in Onuimo Council Area, no fewer than three persons suspected to be thugs were feared dead in a car accident, while attempting to escape with ballot boxes and sensitive electoral materials.
In another place in Aboh Mbaise Council Area, hoodlums dressed in fake army uniforms and armed with AK47 rifles, were arrested by soldiers, while trying to snatch electoral materials.
THUGS LEAVE ONE BLEEDING, DISMANTLE POLLING UNIT IN BAYELSA
The state Houses of Assembly elections were marred in Ogbia Constituency 3, Bayelsa State. Electoral violence erupted at Unit 11, Ward 6 in Oruma community, after thugs believed to be working for the All Progressives Congress (APC) disrupted the accreditation.
The state PDP women leader, Faith Opene, who is from Oruma, alleged that the APC thugs were led by Samuel Ogbuku, a former chief of staff, who is also an indigene of the community.
She also alleged that the APC thugs dismantled the eight polling units in Oruma, adding that Ogbuku left a PDP agent bleeding in the head. But APC agent, Adaga Martins explained that the exercise was disrupted because the electoral officers could not display ballot papers and results when asked to do so by party agents.
4 ARRESTED IN OGUN FOR ELECTION RELATED OFFENCES
Four aides of South West chairman Mobilisation and Organisation Committee of the PDP, Prince Buruji Kashamu, were according to reports arrested by security operatives on suspicion of committing election-related offences.
The quartet which included Kashamu’s driver and nephew were apprehended in Ijebu Itele in Ogun East local government area of Ogun state during the governorship and house of assembly elections. The two others were alleged to have adorned uniforms of the mobile police (MOPOL).
It was gathered that the suspects were riding in an unmarked jeep said to belong to Kashamu, who doubled as the senator-elect on the ticket of PDP for Ogun East Senatorial seat.
But Kashamu, who spoke with reporters shortly after casting his vote at Ward 06, Polling Unit 26, in Ijebu Igbo, admitted that his aides were arrested while on a legitimate errand at Itele community.
In his words, “That is true but we cannot call it arrest. I am the South West chairman Mobilisation and Organisation Committee and of course, I am entitled to INEC pass. But I am a little bit ill and couldn’t go out. And last night when they were trying to distribute money to party agents, they couldn’t get enough money and I was told that Ijebu East needed N500,000 which I gave to them. I sent one of my nieces with two colleagues and a tag on my Range Rover vehicle.
“So, when they got there, the APC, headed by the former deputy governorship candidate in the 2011 general election, Tunde Oladunjoye decided to block them and used their power because they felt they are in power in Ogun state and they have the backing of all the military. From there, they were arrested.”
– MICHAEL NWOKIKE