Kano rerun: How thugs disenfranchised voters

Posted by News Express | 24 March 2019 | 1,166 times

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Thugs working for politicians yesterday prevented many registered voters from voting in the rerun election that held in the state. The armed thugs allegedly took over polling units, turning back supporters or agents of opponents.

Rerun election was slated in polling units spread across 28 local government areas in the state after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the March 3 governorship election held in the state inconclusive.

Over 120,000 voters were to participate in the rescheduled poll yesterday.

There were reports of incidences where hoodlums took over some polling units, preventing registered voters from exercising their civic rights.

It was observed that in Gama ward of Nasarawa Local Government, which has over 40,000 voters, thousands of weapon-carrying hoodlums, majority of them wearing the APC agents’ tag, took over the polling units, forcing the PDP supporters into hiding.

A resident, Ya’u Alhaji Gama, told Daily Trust on Sunday that the hoodlums that took over the streets were brought in to intimidate residents. “I swear to God, all these people you are seeing are not from this area, they are only here to cause mayhem,” he said.

Reports from the state on the eve of the election quoted residents as saying that thugs were being brought into the state in droves by politicians planning to use them to rig the poll.

Residents of Gama claimed they saw strange faces in the area from the time of morning prayer. They said the strangers later took over the polling units in Gama, brandishing weapons and unleashing terror.

“It is not possible to identify yourself as a PDP member here, not to talk of an agent. You can’t hang any PDP tag here,” a Gama resident said.

Pressmen were not spared the harassment as thugs attempted to lynch journalists under the umbrella of state’s Correspondent Chapel who were at Suntulma Primary School polling unit, Gama ward, to cover the exercise.

At Masaka polling unit in Dala Local Government Area, three people were reportedly injured in a clash involving supporters of the ruling party and the opposition PDP.

It was gathered that voting was made impossible for supporters of the opposition PDP as armed thugs harassed anyone showing sympathy for the party.

A PDP supporter who insisted on voting for the party, Dahiru Sa’ad, was attacked causing him to lose two teeth.

Policemen present at the polling unit did nothing to save the situation. A police officer, who declined to give his name, told Daily Trust that they could not interfere because they were not carrying arms.

However, the commissioners for information and finance in the state, Malam Muhammad Garba and Alhaji Aminu Dan-Amu, allegedly came under attack by thugs suspected to be supporters of the PDP.

The suspected thugs allegedly molested the information commissioner at Yalwa polling unit in Dala Local Government and smashed his vehicle’s windscreen.

His counterpart of the finance ministry, Dan-Amu, was allegedly attacked at Dogon-Nama polling unit in the same Dala Local Government.

Also said to have been attacked was APC’s elder, Alhaji Liti Kul-Kul, who was trailed to his family house and assaulted.

Confirming the incident, the information commissioner said: “I was personally attacked by PDP thugs at Yalwa polling unit and the windscreen of my car was smashed.

“I am sure the attack emanated from the pronouncement of the Kwankwasiyya leader, Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, who said all PDP members are agents and security men.

“This is the danger of such statements, especially by leaders. We have Kwankwaso on tape urging his supporters to be agents and security men at polling units. This is wrong and unacceptable,” he said.

Reacting, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr Micheal Anthony Obizi, has described Kano rerun election as peaceful.

He explained that the reports on various social media platforms were purported by some elements in order to cause chaos in the state.

“We have arrested only 10 people for various election offences and they will be charged to court as soon as we finish investigation. So, as far as police are concerned, the election is peaceful,” he said.

Excerpted from Daily Trust report


Source: News Express

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