Police parade arsonists, fake election observers in Akwa Ibom - Dove Bulletin - Online News Bulletin

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Monday, 18 February 2019

Police parade arsonists, fake election observers in Akwa Ibom


The Akwa Ibom State police command on Monday paraded 10 persons alleged to be involved in the killing of one person and burning of 11 buses close to the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) office in Obot Akara Local Government Area of the state.

The hoodlums were said to have carried out the mayhem hours before INEC announced the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections.

Permanent Voters Card totaling 179 and 27 temporary voters cards were also seized in two different operations, while 41 persons claiming to be elections observers but had no proof of their claim were also arrested.

The state Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, who addressed the press through the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the command, Odiko Ogbeche, also displayed about 179 permanent voter’s cards and 27 temporary voters cards said have been seized in two different operations, and paraded 41 persons claiming to be elections observers but had nothing to prove their claim.

Makama said although hoodlums set ablaze the INEC office in Eastern Obolo Local Government Area, the police were able to put out the fire and secured all INEC materials in the area.

He denied media reports that 400 political thugs were arrested in the state, noting that only 20 persons were arrested and they had not yet been linked to any political party.

He mentioned that weapons retrieved from the ten suspects included two locally-made short guns, 25 live cartridges, substances suspected to be Indian hemp, two machetes, charms, human hairs, a dead bird, knife, scissors, hot drink, two axes, and phones.

He stated that the suspects would be transferred to the Force Criminal Investigation Department for further investigation and urged politicians to abide by the rules and advise their supporters to conduct themselves peacefully during the elections.

The CP said the police in the state were non-partisan as they would act professionally at all times and remain neutral and committed to free, fair and credible elections in line with international best practice

“On the eve of the 2019 general elections, at about 10.05pm, hoodlums at Obot Akara LGA, close to the INEC office, macheted and killed one person whose identity is unknown; they burnt 11 buses and vandalised two. The command acted swiftly and arrested ten persons in connection with the crime.

“On February 15, 2019, the command arrested a total of 41 persons at Angellyne Guest hotel, Osongama, Uyo who came from Bayelsa, Delta and Ondo states. The said persons claimed to be in the state as observers for the 2019 general elections but could not give any proper identity of themselves and had no INEC identification either.

“On February 15, 2019, a total of 20 persons were arrested at Ukanafun who were brought from Rivers State by Uduak Ezekiel Dick ‘m’ of Ikot Akpan Nkuk, who lured them into the state on the pretext of attending a burial of Lance Corporal of Udo Essien of the Nigerian Army.

“On February 17, 2019, the command arrested one Anietie Peter in Mkpat Enin in possession of 34 voter’s cards, while on February 3, 2019, personnel of Nigerian Navy intercepted one Stephen Gad ‘m’ in Eastern Obolo in possession of one locally-made double barrel pistol, 145 PVCs and 27 temporary voter’s card,” he said.

One of the 41 arrested suspects, Okoroda Ken from Bayelsa state said they were arrested in Angellyne Hotel at 3 am on Friday, February 15, 2019, where they lounged, adding that they were yet to reach their coordinator who booked the hotel for them.

He said: “We all submitted our passport to Society for Advancement For Credible Leadership and Observation. This organisation is registered and accredited by INEC. Since we submitted our passports, we were told our names were submitted to INEC and that we would likely monitor the election in Uyo.

“We came on Thursday to confirm whether our names were there or not. We were in the Angellyne Hotel booked for us by the coordinator of the group, Berefa Bedfon. When we were arrested, all our phones were taken from us and we have not been able to contact anyone. INEC can prove if our names have been registered with them.”
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