Hoodlums popularly known as area boys , numbering over 50, today, stormed St Brigid’s Catholic Church premises, Imman Thanni Street, Ijeshatedo, Surulere, Lagos, dispersed people who came to register or collect their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and carted away the PVC registration machine and other working tools.
The hoodlums who beat up some staff of Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), and Church members, who tried to resist them, stole and went away with the PVC registration machine and other working tools.
The hoodlums who accussed the church members , majority who are Ibo (Ndigbo), of supporting Labour Party Presidential flag bearer, Mr Peter Obi, warned that they should learn lessons from what happened to them and begin to imagine what they would suffer in 2023 General Elections.
A Church member, Mr. Harrison Okorie,said the announcement for people whether Christians or not was announced at the morning mass yesterday and the previous days in our Church that,” lf you have not registered for your PVC, come and do so.If you have done yours, kindly inform others near you to come, particularly, those that are not online. Do give them phone calls.
” We were asked to tell our neighbours as INEC has put 30th of this month as the last day for registration. Actually, I had done my registration last year, but I brought some people to our Church. While the INEC officials were busy setting up their machines and other working tools to commence work. A group of area boys, some wearing caps and T- Shirts with insignia of a president flag bearer of another powerful political party, Stormed the venue of registration and forcefully took away the Machines and other working tools of the INEC officials. Some of the INEC officials and church members were seriously beaten up by the Area boys.
” While the hoodlums were committing the dastardly acts, some of them who were armed with dangerous weapons were warning the courageous ones who stayed behind and others who were not able to escape that we should learn lessons from today’s beating and disruption and compare it with what would happen to Ndigbo during the 2023 General Elections. One of them who bear the name Olosho,said that we are supporting labour Party presidential aspirant Mr Peter Obi. He won that we should take the message to Mr Peter Obi and his party. According to him , we should understand that we are strangers in Lagos, and should not dictate for them what they want in the States. We don’t want Peter Obi all we want is Asiwaju bola Ahmed Tinubu and that if we try to disobey them they would kill us and send us parking from Lagos because we are strangers.
“While they were beating us, we put up calls to the police, but they didn’t come on time as they came when the hoodlums had finished committing havoc. We are appealing to Lagos State commissioner of police, and Commanders of other police forations to help us and retrieve the machine and other working tools of INEC. We also appeal to INEC to give us one more chance. We are surprised that people are still thinking and behaving like what we witness today “.
An INEC official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, as he was not supposed to speak with the press,said :” I envisaged what happened today as the Church is dominated by NndIgbo. I asked them whether there was police protection and they told me that there was a police Station near the place. I was shocked that while the assault and robbery was going on, there was no police on ground. The police came 30 minutes after the hoodlums had gone. Even when the police came,the patrol vehicle was in a deplorable state. It was starting and quenching. I think Ndigbo should take the advice of the hoodlums seriously and know what to do during the oncoming Election. They should not keep quiet”.
However, another man , Johnson Nwabuike, who claimed he came to register for his PVC, told our correspondent that, ” many people have been defranchised today, as they may not have the opportunity of registering again. Some of us were able to come because we took permission from our offices. Who will give us the opportunity anymore. Will INEC extend the date for registration again? NndIgbo should prepare for the worst come 2023, because the hoodlums have warned us to steer clear of pooling boots come 2023 , because they are aware that we are voting for Peter Obi. I am feeling that the attack was organized by the opposition party. They are afraid of Peter Obi and nothing more.If NndIgbo does not do something drastic to stop the intimidation by hoodlums working for the opposition party, NndIgbo would not be able to come out and exercise their franchise. It happened in Lagos and we were not able to vote. The hoodlums had boasted that they would deal with us if we continue to talk of Peter Obi.
As at press time, people were still stranded and confused wether to go home or to see if something miraculous would happen so that they would continue with the registration.