Supplementary elections: PDP petitions police over harassment, ballot box snatching by soldiers

Supplementary elections: PDP petitions police over harassment, ballot box snatching by soldiers

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Benue State chapter, has petitioned the state’s commissioner of police to bring to justice some soldiers who allegedly committed electoral fraud during the March 9 gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections. The party alleged that the soldiers committed a lot of atrocities, among which were snatching of ballot boxes, thumb printing of ballot papers, returning same to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), burning of ballot boxes,  harassment and brutality on innocent citizens, among others. In a petition by the PDP’s lawyer,  M.S. Agaku, he stated that: “Our clients, Nelson Ogbu, Comrade James Oche, Emmanuel Aboh, Ogbu Ogaba, Innocent Egegwu, Susan Onmonya, Kingsley Onmonya, Otse Unazi, Udah Okibe and entire PDP ward excos and stakeholders of Apa Ward, Ado Local Government Area of Benue State, informed us that, on March 9, some soldiers were led by Cpl. Echo Omerigwe, also known as Tension to Apa Ward, to harass innocent voters, especially those who were sympathetic to the PDP.

“The soldiers were in company with Agbese Philip, who bragged publicly that the said soldiers were assigned to him by the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Buratai. Agbese also boasted that, as a consultant to the Nigerian Army, he had the capacity and the authority to commit any crime.“We were informed that, at the New Site Polling Unit, Agbese and the following  thugs, Adadu, Omerigwe, Unazi a Corps member presently serving in Bayelsa State, and several others unknown beat up some notable personalities of the PDP extraction, including the Senior Special Assistant to Benue State Governor on Media, Hon. Nelson Ogbu, and Senior Special Assistant to the former President of the Senate, Comrade James Oche, forcing them to abandon their polling unit for their safety.

“The assault, threats, intimidation continued in other polling units of Azegbilede, RCM Primary School, Austine Chemist, Apa Ugbozu, Methodist Primary School II, Uwezekoka and many others, wherein the Special Adviser to the Governor of Benue State, Rev. Joseph Ogezi, and his fellow voters were brutalised.That ballot boxes and other electoral materials were forcefully snatched, thumb-printed and returned to INEC office leading to the cancellation of the election in 10 affected polling units.“Agbese Philip, the soldiers and thugs publicly embarked on more terrible acts, including but not limited to burning of electoral materials in areas where the APC performed abysmally.

This acts affected the outcome of the election in the wards where results of 10 polling units were cancelled. “It is the concern of our client that in the scheduled re-run, the same Agbese who is already bragging about the assignment of more soldiers from the Chief of Army Staff will use the said soldiers and thugs to cause grievous bodily harm to members of the Apa Ward, destroy electoral materials and other conduct capable of causing breach of public peace.”

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