Lagos. — Four people were killed in political violence that has forced the cancellation of election re-runs in the southern Nigerian state of Rivers, police and the Independent National Electoral Commission said yesterday.
Police said four people were killed and 22 arrests were made at the weekend for disrupting the electoral process, which Inec said included the barricading of its offices.
“Of more serious concern was the level of threats, violence and intimidation of election officials and voters by well-armed thugs and miscreants allegedly acting on behalf of some politicians, which marred the elections in some areas,” it added. “There were reports of numerous attacks resulting in fatalities, kidnapping, ballot snatching, diversion of officials and materials, among others.” The unrest led to the suspension of voting in eight of the 23 local government areas, said Inec director of voter education and publicity Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi. As a result of the violence and intimidation, results were only declared in one federal and nine state constituencies, he added.
Re-runs of last year’s elections for the Rivers state assembly and the national assembly in Abuja were ordered by the courts because of repeated claims of widespread irregularities.
Rivers has long been a key battleground because of its location in the heart of the oil-producing south and its major urban centre, Port Harcourt, the state capital. The People’s Democratic Party controls the state but is in opposition to the All Progressives Congress nationally.
Both sides have blamed the other for a spate of politically motivated killings and violence. — AFP.