John Adams, Minna
Two youths were killed when violence broke out during the local government election primaries of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Niger Sate on Saturday.
This brings to three the number of election related casualties in the state, following the killing of a middle-age man in Kagara, the headquarters of Rafi Local Government Council, in the build up to the primaries on Saturday.
The Saturday violence, which claimed the lives of the two youths, occurred in Kuta, the headquarters of Shiroro Local Government Area.
Although the Niger State Police Command confirmed that only one person was killed, an eyewitness who spoke to Daily Sun said that two youths had died during the fracas that broke out.
The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abubakar Dan-Inna, who confirmed the incident said that one person lost his life when violence erupted shortly after the results of the primaries in the local government were announced.
DSP Dan-Inna said contrary to the claim that two people died, only death had so far been confirmed.
He disclosed that the conduct of the primaries had gone peacefully until trouble broke out when thugs said to be loyal to one of the candidates, having realised that the results were not in their favour, blocked the road, attacked the vehicle of the returning officer and burnt down an unknown number of motorcycles.
The police spokesman said the police had done everything humanly possible to whisk the returning officer and the results of the election away, but that this angered the youths who proceeded to the police station at Kuta in a mob to set it ablaze.
He pointed out that one person was killed while the police were trying to contain the violent situation.
Eyewitnesses in Kuta who spoke to Daily Sun insisted that two persons were killed by stray bullets shot by mobile policemen deployed to the area while trying to restore order.
Giving a similar account, the APC chairman of Shiroro Local Government, Mr Peter Kaburu, told Daily Sun that he got a report that two persons were killed and four others injured, adding that a female member of the monitoring committee from the APC state office was also injured, while their car was destroyed by the thugs.
Meanwhile, Senator Sani Musa, who represents Niger East Senatorial District where the violence ensued, has condemned the incident in strong terms, describing it as unfortunate.
In a press release issued by the Senator on Sunday, he said the incident was unhealthy for political development in the state.
“I condemn in strong terms what has happened and, therefore, call for investigation into the matter to ascertain what really transpired,” the Senator stated.
“Politics is not a do-or-die affair. Losers must learn to accept their fate and victors must embrace those who lost and work together with them.”