Despite the assurances given by the security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), that there would be adequate security during the governorship and House of Assembly elections, the elections which held yesterday in Rivers State were characterized by killings, maiming, arson, snatching of ballot boxes, burning of electoral materials, among other electoral atrocities.
The police hierarchy said a total of 17,000 policemen were deployed to Rivers State to protect the votes, lives and property during the elections. According to the police, two policemen were supposed to man a polling unit.
But what was experienced in yesterday’s elections was a sharp contrast from what INEC and the Nigerian security agencies, especially, the Nigeria Police, promised the people of Rivers State.
On Friday night, less than 24 hours to the commencement of the elections, some political thugs stormed the residence of the Rivers State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Joeba West, in Buguma, Asari Toru Local Government Area.
The thugs, numbering over 20, were said to have shot sporadically before they threw improvised explosive devices (IEDs) into the Commissioner’s house, leaving it badly damaged. As at the time of filing this report, the whereabouts of Mrs. Joeba West had not been ascertained.
Besides, there were cases of killings, burning of buses belonging to INEC and individuals. In fact, a man was beheaded in Buguma, while INEC REC’s office was also set ablaze. The Caretaker Committee Chairman of Asari-Toru, Ojukaye Amachree, and a member of the House of Representatives, Dawari George, confirmed that elections did not take place in the area due to violence.