Six INEC staff kidnapped, released in Kogi

Six staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were kidnapped and later released in Lokoja, Kogi State during the state assembly election on Saturday.

The kidnapping of the staff was one of the incidents recorded during the election that was  generally marred by violence.

The staff  were kidnapped by armed thugs decked in fake police and army uniforms at the polling unit inside the Crowther Memorial College in Lokoja.

They were taken away in a van  by their armed abductors.

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The Director of publicity in Lokoja office of the INEC, Mr Ahmed Bimabo said the victims were released few hours later and were  being medically examined at the Lokoja office of the commission.

He did not say whether the workers returned with the sensitive election materials and ballot boxes that were seized by the hoodlums as they were taken away.

Also in Ward D area of Lokoja , the election was marred by violence launched by thugs who invaded the area when the election was underway.

A witness  said that voting took place in only in one out of the five polling units.

Hoodlums were also on the rampage at the workers village on Hassan Usman Katsina Road in Lokoja.

Masked armed hoodlums invaded the village and  carted  away ballot papers and sensitive election materials from the only polling unit in the area,  amid gunshots.

At Ganaja village , a former Commissioner for information in the state, Mr Anthony Puke lost his bungalow and three cars, as they were  set  ablaze by hoodlums.

Puke is said to be a chieftain of the APC. Why the hoodlums attacked him was not so clear.

Also incidents of  ballot box snatching were recorded  during the election in Kabba/Bunu, Yagba West, Yagba East and Ijumu local government areas of the state.

Sunday Karimi, who represents Yagba federal Constituency in the House of Representatives described the election as sham.

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” There is no need for future election . They have taken us back to the old days when crude ways and outright manipulation of figures were the order of the day,” he said.

Karimi lamented the use of armed thugs in fake police and military uniforms for ballot box snatching and arm twisting of traditional rulers to win election at all cost.

Meanwhile , the election has ended and results being collated at the ward level.

The turnout for the election was generally low but the card readers performed better than what happened during the February 23 elections.

It was.also observed that the INEC made better preparations when compared with the Presidential and National Assembly  elections on February 23. ( NAN)

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