Lawmakers Escaped Lynching over Alleged Theft of Election Materials
By John Shiklam in Kaduna
Two lawmakers in Kaduna State and an electoral officer accused of stealing election materials, narrowly escaped being lynched on Wednesday in Kujama, headquarters of Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Chikun is one of the councils where elections were inconclusive during the May 12 council polls and a re-run was scheduled for June 6, along side Kaura and Jaba councils.
The two lawmakers – a member of the House of Representatives, Abubakar Mohamammed Mamadi, representing Igabi federal constituency, and Markus Yari, a member of the Kaduna State House of Assembly representing Chikun – were allegedly caught stealing election materials at the council secretariat in Kujama.
They were alleged to have arrived the council secretariat along side a top government official, thugs and some policemen.
They were beaten by angry mob who stormed the secretariat while their thugs were alleged to have escaped to Kaduna with the voting machines.
Three Peugeot saloon cars, including the one carrying the election materials were deflated.
Hundreds of armed security personnel deployed to the area had a hectic time trying to protect the lawmakers and the Electoral Officer from the mob who forced their way to the premises of the secretariat by breaking the gates.
The lawmakers were held hostage at the secretariat for hours before a combination of heavily armed soldiers and the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) was deployed to rescue them.
The SARS had to fire several tear gas canisters to clear the way as they moved the lawmakers and the electoral officer out in a patrol van at neck breaking speed.
The mob responded by throwing stones at the police.
An official of the Kaduna State Electoral Commission ( KAD-SIECOM) who was posted to the area for the election said the theft of the election materials occurred at about 6:00 am on Wednesday.
The official who pleaded anonymity said the lawmakers came with a top government official and a large number of thugs who were armed.
“They went and carried a former electoral officer of the local government at gun point and ordered her to open the place.
She opened it and they took the electronic voting machines and the thugs and the government official left.
“Unfortunately for them, she didn’t give them the result sheet.
It was the members lawmakers that collected the forms.
“The youths were immediately alerted and they stormed the secretariat and descended on them.
They would have killed them were it not for the police”As they were about to go the youths blocked them by the gate.
Government official left, was lucky However, in his reaction, Yari denied the allegations, saying he had no hand in the stealing of election materials.
Narrating his side of the story, the lawmaker said: “I was told that some election materials were missing, as a member of the House representing this area, I decided to drive straight to this place to ascertain and ensure the final distribution of materials.
“As I was trying to find out, lo and behold these thugs came in.
“It was confirmed that materials were not there but I don’t know whether the materials were taken to other places, it is unimaginable.
“They voted me so whenever they see me they asked questions that I cannot answer.
“They now said I was the one that stole the materials and I asked them whether I would have come back here if I stole something here.
“I was attacked, I was molested. They stole my money and my phones. But I am their own…”
The member of the House of Representatives, Mamadi, declined to comment on the issue.