© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Several persons killed across Nigeria during state elections
DESPITE the assurances of improved security by the various security agencies in Nigeria, Saturday’s governorship and state assemblies election was bloody in various states of the federation as several persons were reported killed either by unknown hoodlums or by security operatives themselves.
Perhaps most prominent of the victims of the violent killings that characterised the exercise was the Oyo State federal lawmaker, Olatoye Temitope, who was said to have been shot in the eye at a polling unit in the state and died shortly after he was rushed to the University College Teaching Hospital in Ibadan.
As usual, the spokesperson of the Oyo State Police Command, Olugbenga Fadeyi, has promised that the Force would get to the root of the matter and bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice.
In Anambra State, the police confirmed that two persons were shot dead while the election was ongoing. Governorship election did not hold in Anambra State as it is one of the states where guber election is staggered. Only state assembly elections held there on Saturday.
While locals told journalists that the killings occurred when some thugs tried to hijack ballot boxes in Obosi, the police said the killing was due to a clash between rival cult groups in the area.
Haruna Mohammed, the Public Relations Officer of the Anambra Police Command, said 47 of the cultists had been arrested and 18 of them transferred to the State’s Criminal Investigation Department in Awka, the state capital.
In Rivers State, which is a traditional flashpoint for violence during elections, seven people have been reported killed between Friday and Saturday, including policemen and government officials. Some reports, however, put the number of dead at four.
Enugu State also had its own share of the bloodshed as one person was killed at the residence of the governorship candidate of one of the major political parties in the country.
Details of the sad occurrence remain sketchy but some say the victim was caught by a stray bullet when policemen fired into the air to disperse an unruly crowd.
Policemen manning polling units are not supposed to be armed according to the Electoral Act.
The Enugu police spokesperson, Ebere Amaraizu, has confirmed the incident, adding that the police was yet to ascertain whether the deceased, whose name was given as Onuora Odo, was an election observer or a political party agent.
In Benue State, two people were confirmed killed in an election-related attack in Gbajimba community, Guma local government area.
Reports say gunmen had attempted to cart away election materials at the council but the locals resisted the attack, leading to the death of the two whom some reports say were father and son.
As the day after the election wears on, and as the reports of election monitors and observers are filed, it may become clearer just how bloody Saturday’s state elections really were across the country.