Ballot Box Snatcher Burnt to Death in Lagos

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  • Police arrest four for burning ballot boxes

Gboyega Akinsanmi

A group of aggrieved voters Saturday clamped down on a suspected ballot box snatcher simply identified as Demola; stoned beyond recognition and finally burnt to death in Okota, Oshodi-Isolo Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Lagos State.

The detail of how was summarily killed was revealed in a video tape, which showed some irate young voters throwing stones and other objects at the victim, who bleeding unceasingly before his assailants set him ablaze.

As indicated in the video, Demola, allegedly a leader of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), had escaped with his motorcycle after leading some hoodlums to snatch ballot boxes in Okota, when he was apprehended and stoned to death, with his motorcycle burnt.

One of his assailants in the video was heard saying, “That is Demola. He is a leader of OPC. They have stolen our votes. They have stolen our votes in Okota. See him lying down.”

Another assailant in the video screamed that they “have stolen all the votes. That is Demola there; the head of OPC. He was the one that led them to come and scatter everywhere. He was the one that led them to come and scatter the votes. You will die like a thief.”

Before Demola was burnt to death yesterday, THISDAY obtained another video tape showing some political thugs that disrupted voting in the polling unit of Fuji star, Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde (KWAM I).

The video showed that after sending voters away, the thugs broke all ballot boxes at the polling units and set them ablaze without restraint from security agents attached to the polling units.

Some voters captured in the video were screaming, running here and there as well as accusing the leadership of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the area of sponsoring political violence that disrupted the process.

In Oshodi, Oshodi Local Government Area (LGA), a former member of the House of Representatives, who spoke privately with THISDAY, alleged that some political thugs invaded some polling units and made away with the ballot boxes.

Both Oshodi and Okota are the strongholds of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In 2015, the APC lost all legislative elections in Okota and Oshodi to the PDP, a situation that ignited interests in the 2019 contest.

However, the State Police Command yesterday claimed that it arrested four persons in connection with the disruption of voting and destruction of voting materials in Okota.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Zubairu Muazu made the claim during a visit to the affected polling units alongside an Assistant Inspector-General of Police monitoring elections in Lagos State, Mr David Folawiyo.

Muazu said that suspects would soon be charged with disrupting elections and damage to election materials, acknowledging that hoodlums set ablaze some ballot boxes at Polling Unit 18 located at the junction of Ohafia/Ago Palace Way, Okota.

The incident occurred midway into voting at the booth, causing voters and INEC ad-hoc staff to run for safety. The hoodlums also disrupted voting at Polling Unit 23 located on Baba-Ewe Street/Ago Place Way.

A group of boys in tricycles and motorcycles stormed Polling Unit 18 and few other polling units and attempted to force voters to vote for a particular party.

The group fled when a team of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Lagos State Police Command arrived at the scene.

SARS had shot into the air. However, the hoodlums returned when the police left. They attempted unsuccessfully to snatch the boxes, and then burnt some.

They also disrupted voting at Polling Units 035 and 036 located at Adeneken Street/Alhaji Olusesi Street Junction and Adeneken Street/ Ago Palace Way, respectively.

Although the ad-hoc staff and some voters returned later at the polling booths, voting did not continue until the time of this report.