Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have revealed how uniformed and plain-clothes security operatives loyal to the former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, assaulted some ad-hoc staff of the Commission in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
One of the collation officers in the Essien Udim LGA explained that he narrowly escaped being lynched when the senator and his supporters invaded the collation centre at about 10 pm on Saturday.
He noted that said they were in the process of verification and collation when Akpabio stormed the venue with several uniformed and plain-clothes men.
Akpabio was said to have initially pleaded with the ad-hoc staff to suspend the use of card reader and just accept the results when one of his loyalists identified as Nse Ntuen (a member of House of Assembly) started assaulting all the INEC officials over their uncooperative attitude.
“Suddenly, Nse Ntuen emerged and picked up a plastic chair, murmuring that the electoral officers were not cooperating with them. I escaped by God’s grace because he was about smashing my head with that chair, when he suddenly saw another fat man with a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) tag and he unleashed the chair on him mercilessly,” the collation officer said.
“Ntuen also beat up the corps members as everyone tried scampering for safety. In that confusion, I dragged the returning officer who is also my colleague in the university, and is hypertensive, and we were able to escape. I got to Uyo at about 2am.”
It was also gathered that journalists were not allowed at Polling Unit 9 in Ukana West, Ward 2 located in the premises of Independent High School, Ukana, Essien Udim LGA, where Senator Akpabio voted.
However, the Media Aide to Senator Akpabio, Anietie Ekong, debunked the accusations, insisting that there were false.