16 killed in Osun, Bayelsa, Delta, Borno violence

THE PUNCH Newspaper

Pockets of election violence were recorded in Bayelsa, Osun, Delta, and Borno states during the National Assembly polls.

Sixteen people were killed and several others injured in the incidents which occurred just as the Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, confirmed the death of 13 National Youth Service Corps members in the bomb blast in Suleja, Niger State on Friday.

In Bayelsa, President Goodluck Jonathan’s state, one person was confirmed dead and some others injured in skirmishes that were caused by allegation of the hijack of electoral materials.

The death was recorded in a crisis that occurred between the supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party and the Labour Party in Twan-Brass, Brass Local Government Area.

The Commissioner of Police, Aderenle Shinaba, confirmed the killing.

In Otuasiga, Ogbia Local Government Area, a member of the LP, Eneiye Igbuasi, was wounded in the head with an axe by a youth suspected to be a member of the PDP.

There was also a report of violence in Ile-Ife, Osun State where gunmen killed five people at a Cherubim and Seraphim church.

The gunmen were said to have gone first to the residence of the candidate of Action Congress of Nigeria in Ife federal constituency, Mr Rotimi Makinde, at about 2am on Friday before proceeding to the church.

It was learnt that two residents of the Makinde household fled to the church but were trailed there by the gunmen.

In the church, the bandits shot five people dead, including the pastor, his son and a worshipper.

Speaking in a telephone interview, Makinde said, “My family members fled the house when the rain of bullets became intense. I am devastated.

“Two of the people in my house fled and took refuge in the church. The assailants followed them there and killed the two of them. They also killed the pastor of the church, his son and another worshipper who were having a night vigil.

“The Osun State police commissioner visited my house and he went to the church to remove the corpses with his men.”

Makinde accused a serving senator, Chief Iyiola Omisore, and his aide of being behind the attack.

When contacted, Omisore denied his involvement in the attack, saying the ACN should look elsewhere for the suspects.

The state Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, said he had reported the case to the Commissioner of Police, Osun State Command, Mr. Peter Gana, and the state Director, State Security Service, Mr. Olusegun Adegboye.

Aregbesola said, “This is barbaric, inhuman and despicable. It is absurd and heinous for anyone, no matter how highly placed, to take the life of a fellow human being.

“Justice must be done. We are not pointing accusing finger but the indices point to someone in Ile-Ife.”

The Public Relations Officer, Osun State police command, Mr. Oluwagbemileke Taiwo, confirmed the incident.

He said, “The CID (Criminal Investigation Department) has swung into action. The police are up to the task of protecting lives and property in Osun.”

Four other people were allegedly shot dead in Ogume, Ndokwa West and Otor-Ogor, Ughelli North of Delta State in two separate violence.

The state police command spokesman, Mr. Charles Muka, said the police were still investigating the incident which happened very close to a polling unit .

The other people that died in Ughelli North were said to have been shot by security men attached to the polling centre in Ogor for allegedly attempting to snatch ballot papers.

Their killing was said to have thrown the area into pandemonium as other would-be- voters scampered for safety.

Also in Orogun, Ughelli North, a car belonging to some suspected thugs who also attempted to snatch ballot papers was burnt by irate youths.

When our correspondent contacted the state INEC spokesman, Mr. Chinedu Onyeji, he said he could neither confirm nor refute the development.

In Edo State, a PDP youth leader, David Ogie, was killed on the eve of the elections.

A source said that Ogie, a former vice-chairman of Orhiomwon LG transition committee, was gunned down by a lone gunman who scaled through a fence into his home.

In Maiduguri, Borno State, five people were killed and five others injured in two separate explosions at the Unguwan Doki polling centre and Abba Ganaram Neighbourhood.

While the Unguwan Doki explosion happened during the accreditation of voters, that of Abba Ganaram took place during the collation of results of the elections in Maiduguri, the state capital.

A voter told the News Agency of Nigeria, that the explosion in Unguwan Doki completely tore the entire INEC shade designated for the polls into pieces.

Among the injured were a female police officer and an INEC ad hoc staff.

The voter, who witnessed the incident, Malam Lawal Hassan, said, “We were all in the queue undergoing the accreditation when we heard a heavy explosion, by the time normalcy returned, we found ourselves covered by dust.

“But some persons were not so lucky as they were thrown outside the shade by the explosion.

“A female police officer, who was the security agent at the centre, suffered serious damage on her legs and hands.

“I believe that she must have lost her two hands as they were severed by the explosion.

“An INEC officer also suffered damage on his eyes,’’

He added that the victims were rushed to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital for medical attention.

NAN reported that a team of army officers cordoned off the area and the election in the unit cancelled.

Sunday PUNCH learnt that seven people were also injured in the explosion at Abba Ganaram.

It was learnt that the Nigeria Police, National Emergency Management Agency and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps immediately moved to contain the situation.

The spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Yushau Shuaibu, confirmed the development, saying casualties were recorded.

He said the injured victims were immediately rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment.

Mr. Mike Zuokumor, the Borno State Police Commissioner, also confirmed the Unguwan Doki incident, but declined to give further details.

He said that he was yet to receive detailed report of the incident.

Meanwhile, a former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, ex- Governor Ogun State Olusegun Osoba and the State’s Governorship candidate of the ACN, Chief Ibikunle Amosu, have all condemned the bomb blast in Suleja.

They said that the new government after its formation must tackle the issue of security with serious attention.

The three prominent indigenes of Ogun State said during separately interviews in Abeokuta , that the bomb blasts must not only be condemned but also that a solution must be found urgently.

Obasanjo said, “You can’t say everything is a laughing matter the way I said ‘I dey laugh o’ because it is a serious matter now. This one is serious in the sense that we must learn from the mistakes of the past. It is not something that should be trivialised.

“It is also serious in that the bombing in Suleja is a phenomenon that should be condemned in a democratic culture.

“I took part in first election in Nigeria in 1959 and from 1959 to 2007, I have not heard o situation where people take a bomb to INEC or FEDECO office. In 2007, they tried to drive a petrol tanker into [INEC building in Abuja] but God saved the situation.”


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