Violence mars Magama/Rijau House Of Reps by-election in Niger
Ballot box snatching, thuggery at polling units
Allegations of Ballot box snatching, thuggery and violence have marred the Saturday’s by-election for Magama/ Rijau House of Representatives election in Niger State.
The epicentres of the violence were Ibeto town and its environs in Magama local government and parts of Rijau in Rijau local government areas of the state where youths suspected to be supporters of both All Progressive Congress (APC) and People Democratic (PDP) are said to be actively involved in the violence.
Political thugs practically invaded the polling stations in Ibeto town, snatching ballot boxes and other election materials. Some men in vigilante and police uniform are seen taking part in the ballot box snatching.
It was further gathered that the thugs went round the eight wards in Ibeto town wielding sticks and cudgels thereby scaring away eligible voters that have turned out to cast their ballots in the election.
The story was not different in some of the polling units in Rijau where some thugs, as early as 7:00 am, took over these polling units, disallowing voters from casting their votes.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Prof. Sam Egwu who was one of the three Commissioners monitoring the election, informed our reporter on Saturday in an interview by telephone that he had directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operation to deploy armed policemen to Ibeto to restore normalcy in the area
Egwu thereby described the development as ” Sad” but promised that ” the situation will be brought to normalcy for the process to commence again.”
According to him, “I have escalated the situation to the police since. In fact, security threat analysis on the part of the police gave indications of what is going on.”
Reports from other areas indicate that election materials were distributed on time with voting commencing at 8.30 am as expected.
Three political parties ADC, PDP and APGA are slugging it out for the single House of Representatives seat.
The APC whose thugs are said to be involved in the violence has been disqualified from taking part in the election by the courts.
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