Eight feared killed in Rivers, A’Ibom

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No fewer than eight people were feard killed on Saturday in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states.

Three persons were killed in Buguma, the headquarters of Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State with one person reportedly beheaded by his assailants.

There was also heavy shooting in Gokana, Ikwerre and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Areas as hoodlums attempted to snatch voting materials.

In Gokana Local Government Area, four journalists were trapped for about one and half hours at the Saint Michael’s Quasi Parish in B-Dere community as unknown gunmen forced their way into the church premises in an attempt to snatch the five ballot boxes available at the polling units.

Ernest Chinwo of ThisDay, Dapo Falade of the Nigerian Tribune, Bunmi Durojaiye of City People and Chukwudi Akasike of The PUNCH, who were at B-Dere Ward 4 in Gokana to monitor the election, escaped death by the whisker.

The journalists, who drove into the venue at about 1.15pm became jittery when they tried to escape through the back of the church only to meet a brick wall in a high fence surrounding the environment.

The policemen were forced to fire canisters of teargas to repel the irate youths, who were bent on taking the election materials away.

Though, the hoodlums fired shots intermittently from different angles to scare voters away, the policemen manning the place returned fire for fire to save the situation.

Two of the hoodlums, who made their way to the ballot boxes and other election materials were given the beating of their lives by some members of the B-Dere community.

One of them had a head injury while the other pleaded for mercy until he was allowed to leave, even as the shooting continued endlessly from the sides of the premises.

The confusion became worse when one of the indigenes of the area, who directed the journalists to enter the car that conveyed them to the ward and changed the directive a minute later.

Security agents immediately led the journalists out of the vicinity to a safe.

Speaking on the incident, the Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (Rivers South East), Dr. Fred Kpakol, attributed the shooting in B-Dere, Gokana to the handiwork of frustrated politicians in the area.

Kpakol stated that it would be difficult for such politicians to succeed in snatching ballot boxes and other election materials in the area, adding that Gokana belongs to the PDP.

“I don’t know why some people are so desperate. PDP is firmly on the ground in this community and Gokana is predominantly PDP. If you are popular, you will allow the election to hold.

Meanwhile, five persons were feared killed in Akwa Ibom State during the governorship and state House of Assembly elections on Saturday.

Also, a reporter with Radar Newspaper, a local tabloid in the state, Mr. Aniedi Ukoenang, was reported missing and his whereabouts unknown as of the time of this report.

The killings occurred at Ward 5, Unit 14, Mbiabong Etoi and Shelter Afrique (Uyo); Ndiya in Nsit Ubium; Etim Ekpo and Ini local government areas of the state.

The reporter was said to have been abducted by the thugs said to be loyal to the Peoples Democratic Party at Ekpeyong Ufum village, Odoro Ikot clan, in the Essien Udim Local Government Area.

The publisher of the tabloid, Mr. Franklyn Isong, confirmed the abduction of the reporter.

The Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Baba Adisa Bolanta, who monitored the elections in the state, however, said he was unaware of the number of people killed but that he would contact the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Gabriel Achong, for details.

When our correspondents contacted Achong, he asked them to contact Bolanta. The CP said that he was not in charge and so would not be able to comment on the issue.

“Please contact the AIG, I am not in charge,” he said.

Also, the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom State has announced the boycott of the governorship and state House of Assembly elections in the state.

The party also called for the cancellation of Saturday’s exercise.

The decision by the party to call for the boycott and cancellation of the elections followed reported instances of hijack of electoral materials by thugs and armed fake policemen, suspected to be sponsored by one of the leading parties.

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