Saturday’s rerun election into the Magama/Rijau Federal Constituency of Niger State was marred by violence as thugs snatched ballot boxes.
The area affected most by the violence include Ibeto in Magama Local Government Area and parts of Rijau in Rijau Local Government Area where youths suspected to be supporters of the two major political parties were said to be involved in the violence.
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Thugs invaded the polling stations in Ibeto town, snatching ballot boxes and other electoral materials. Some men in vigilante and police uniform were seen taking part in the ballot box snatching.
Daily Trust gathered that thugs went around the eight wards in Ibeto town wielding sticks and cudgels, thereby scaring away eligible voters who turned out to cast their ballots.
The story was the same in some of the polling units in Rijau where some thugs, as early as 7am, took over polling units, disallowing voters from casting their votes.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Professor Sam Egwu, who was one of the three commissioners monitoring the election, said he had directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the operation to deploy armed policemen to Ibeto to restore law and order.
Egwu, who spoke on the telephone, described the development as “sad” but promised that “the situation will be brought to normalcy for the process to commence again.”