The violence in Kogi State Bye-elections has claimed two lives in Lokoja the state capital. The Police also confirmed the deaths during Saturday’s bye-election to fill the vacant Lokoja /Kogi seat in House of Representatives.
Spokesman of the command, DSP William Aya, who confirmed the deaths, said one of the victims identified as Yadau Umoru was killed at Ugwan Pawa polling unit, in front of Maigari palace while attempting to snatch a ballot box.
The deceased’s corpse was deposited in the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja soon afterwards.
The second victim who is yet to be identified was killed by a mob at the polling unit located beside Abuja Electricity Distribution Company’s office in Lokoja, while also attempting to snatch a ballot box.
The Kogi bye-election had started peacefully and in an orderly fashion with the voter turnout impressive. It however became characterized by massive vote buying, ballot-snatching and other forms of violence later in the day.
News sources confirmed that the election was further marred by political thugs going from one polling unit to another to perpetrate fraud in the presence of security agents while the policemen attached to the polling units conveniently looked the other way as thugs’ harassed people who came out to vote
Voters were also by several eyewitnesses receiving N2, 000 each after being certified to have voted for particular candidates in full view of several officials of the Kogi state Government who were sighted moving from one polling unit to another in convoys, accompanied by heavily armed policemen as well as other security operatives.
While the Federal Commissioner of INEC in charge of Kogi, Niger and Nasarawa States, Alhaji Mohammed Haruna was furious at the situation, he declared that results in areas where violence was recorded would be cancelled.
The Kogi state government has been owing state workers’ salaries for the last 15 months despite having received several bailout funds from the federal government including the Paris Club refund.
Recall that the same cycle of vote buying and several pockets of violence marred the otherwise peaceful Governorship election in Ekiti State.