NEWS POLITICS

Shootings, ballot box snatching mar #Riversrerun polls

…1 killed, 3 injured in PDP, APC supporters clash

…Amaechi couldn’t vote

From Chris Anucha and Tony John, Port Harcourt

THE much-awaited legislative re-run elections in Rivers State yesterday was marked by late arrival of electoral materials, ballot box snatching and apathy in some areas, amid sporadic shootings, which led to the death of one person.  However, the police denied any loss of lives.
Sunday Sun observed that as at 1p.m, voting materials were yet to arrive at some polling centres in an exercise that was supposed to officially end by 2p.m.

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At Agbon Nchia polling centre in Eleme Local Government Area (LGA), there was a little crisis due to the late arrival of voting materials. But it was gathered that the materials arrived late at the centre as a result of an attempt by some thugs to hijack them before security agents foiled the plot.
Also in Ward 9, Unit 3, in Ogu town, Ogu/Bolo LGA, some political thugs stormed the area and snatched voting materials despite heavy presence of security operatives. The development created tension in the area, thereby forcing INEC officials to suspend the   exercise and consequently cancel election in the affected ward.
Similarly, in Bolo town, Ward 7, Unit 11, there was a failed attempt by some hoodlums to cart away voting materials. Some thugs   were also   said to have thrown dynamites at the Abonnema Registration Area Collation Centre (RAC) at about 6am, but security operatives were able to bring the situation under control.
Meanwhile, one person was shot dead in Bono-Tai in Tai LGA while seven persons were arrested in Omoku, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA.
Speaking with journalists in Kpite town, the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the LGA, Bob Uellor Nkue, said the incident occurred in the midnight of Friday, December 9.  He alleged that the victim was shot dead by some gunmen in military uniform.  Nkue, who claimed that the victim was his younger brother, blamed the incident on the opposition party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said: “Today, December 10, I don’t think election is going on in Tai as the opposition is using military men to chase people away from the polling units. “As at yesterday night, December 9, PDP obeyed the court order and I went to the EO of INEC in Tai to enquire why there would not be election in the entire wards in Tai, but he said the directive was that there will be election in only three wards, which will cut across 12 units in Bon Ogoi, Nonwa and Sema.
“The same night, men clothed in army uniform shot my younger brother to death and I have deposited the body in the mortuary. The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Tai is aware of the incident.”
Also, security men were said to have intercepted the convoy of a former Commissioner for Power in the state (name withheld) near Federal College (Technical), Omoku, with seven men in the vehicle. During interrogation and search, some charms were found on them, leading   to their arrest and detention.
There was also late arrival of voting materials in Ubima, in Ikwerre LGA, while   there were no security men in Wards 8, 14, 15 and 16. There was also complaints about lack of voting materials in polling Unit 14 and Unit 16, Ward 8, where the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi and Celestine Omehia, both former governors of the state, were supposed to cast their votes. The people also complained of missing of result sheets about 12: 40p.m.
Sunday Sun gathered that Amaechi did not vote in his Ward due to absence of result sheets. It could be recalled that Amaechi did not vote in the 2015 general elections for the same reason.
Supporters of   the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress, APC also clashed at Ward 7, Unit 9 in Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area.
The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and former governorship candidate of APC, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, is from Opobo /Nkoro. Three members of APC were allegedly injured during the clash.
The NIMASA boss told journalists:  “Opobo/Nkoro is generally peaceful now.  We observed that they imported some people from outside the LGA. Election materials for one unit were hijacked by some boys, but the security agencies have recovered them.  Those materials have arrived and it is going orderly for now.” There were also reported cases of failure of the Card Readers, but that did not pose much problems as there were Incidence Forms that enabled those who could not be captured by the Card Reader to vote.

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