From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Political thugs on Saturday invaded a polling unit in Omuo-Ekiti, in Ekiti State during the House of Assembly bye-election in Ekiti East constituency 1 conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), killing three persons.
Two police officers, an officer of the Federal Road Safety Commission, a corps member and a presiding officer and one other, who were also shot during the crisis, are now in critical conditions.
The causalities included a 50-year-old Bola Adebisi and 35-year-old Tunde Ogunleye. The position became vacant following the death of an All Progressives Congress lawmaker in the State House of Assembly, Hon Juwa Adegbuyi.
Violence erupted two hours into the election, forcing voters, INEC officials and security agents to stop the exercise abruptly. Everybody scampered for safety to prevent being caught in the web of violence.
The senator representing Ekiti South senatorial district, Mrs Biodun Olujimi, said she narrowly escaped being shot as political thugs invaded her polling unit at Ward 7, Unit 007. The federal lawmaker had to be ferried out of the polling unit by party supporters.
Besides shootings and killings, there were also reported cases of ballot snatching in Ward 9, Unit 008 in the constituency.
Recounting how the crisis was triggered in her unit, Mrs Biodun Olujimi, said the election started peacefully before some APC thugs and compromised police officers started disrupting the voting process.
«The leaders of APC came to the polling unit. In fact, we greeted warmly. After they left, some APC thugs who stayed behind pulled out guns and started shooting sporadically. This is the first time we would witness this. They picked the ballot box and ran away.
“A man died as he was trying to escape from the scene. The policewoman guarding the ballot box was also shot in the head. The corps member and presiding officer at the unit was hit by bullets. In totality, eight people were shot. Some dead and five are battling with their lives in the hospital, receiving treatments,” she lamented.