Okon Bassey in Uyo
Two persons were yesterday killed and thirteen vehicles destroyed on the eve of the postponed presidential and National Assembly elections in Akwa Ibom State.
Sources told THISDAY that the incident occurred on Friday night at Nto Edino, the Headquarters of Obot-Akara Local Government Council of state.
The hoodlums were said to have invaded the council headquarters and attempted to hijack the sensitive materials for the elections while being distributed to officials.
In the course of the invasion there was an exchange of fire between the hoodlums suspected to be political thugs and security operatives which led to the death of the two persons.
“As we speak two persons have been killed and thirteen vehicles burnt down already in the Local Government headquarters. The crisis started between the security personnel and some thugs when INEC staffs were distributing sensitive materials for the elections.” a source said.
In a reaction yesterday, the senatorial candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, Dr Chris Ekpenyong, said some All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwarts in the local government area were responsible for the crisis.
Ekpenyong, who hailed from Obot-Akara said he was in Uyo monitoring the distribution of the materials when news got to him that there was crisis going in the local government and that two persons have been killed and buses destroyed.
Ekpenyong said he knows those who instigated the crisis and had already made a formal complaint to the police authorities to pick them up in order to prevent future occurrence of the crisis.
He said, “We know them and they are the same people who have been causing problem in the locality. I made a formal complaint to the police for those people to be picked up and investigated because last time the same people did the same thing when they were recruiting ad-hoc officers.
“They went ahead to beat up the electoral officer because they wanted to force him to accept their own list for the ad-hoc staff. The matter was reported to the police and nothing was done because they believed they have somebody who is behind them.
“This is the kind of government we have at the centre, they want to take over Akwa Ibom State by force but I have told my people not to take a reprisal attack,” he said.
In a statement yesterday, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Akwa Ibom State Police Command, Mr. Odiko Macdon confirmed the incident, noting that three persons have been arrested and moved to the force headquarters, Abuja.
Already, he said the Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr Bashir Makama was in Obot Akara Local Government Area to assess the situation. The commissioner added that the preliminary investigations into the mayhem had commenced.
According to him, the State Police Command condemned in totality any form of violent and criminality in the state and the Police will not condole same.