Political Thugs Set Police Station Ablaze in Niger

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Laleye Dipo in Minna

The party primary election held in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State on Saturday turned awry as suspected thugs believed to be supporters of a chairmanship aspirant set the Kuta police station ablaze.

The suspected thugs were said to be protesting the outcome of the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election which was won by another aspirant.

Eyewitnesses told THISDAY that after the result of the election was announced and it did not favour a particular candidate and his supporters, law and order broke down during which dangerous weapons were used by the supporters resulting in several vehicles especially motorcycles burnt.

It was learnt that two people died as a result of the incident.

During the fracas the police were said to be able to rescue the electoral officers and election materials which were taken to Kuta. It was in an attempt to retrieve the materials from the police that the thugs burnt down the police station.

Spokesman of Niger State Police Command, DSP Mohammed Abubakar, confirmed the incident but said only one life was lost.

Explaining what happened, Abubakar said “after the successful conduct of the primaries, thugs of one of the aspirants having realised that the results were not in their favour, blocked the road, attacked the vehicle of the returning officers and burnt down an unknown number of motorcycles.”

According to him, “The police had to do everything humanly possible to whisk the returning officer and the results of the election away.

“The youths however proceeded to the Police Station at Kuta and set it ablaze” he said adding that while the police were trying to contain the situation, one person lost his life.”

Abubakar, however, said investigation has commenced to unravel the perpetrators of the violence, assuring that they would be arrested and prosecuted.

The APC Chairman in Shiroro Local Government Area, Mr. Peter Kabiru, in a telephone interview, said he got a report that two persons were killed and four others injured among them a female member of the monitoring committee from the state office of the party.

Meanwhile, a Senator representing Niger East Senatorial district where the violence took place, Sani Musa, has condemned in strong terms the incident, describing it as “unfortunate.” He added that the incident “is unhealthy for the political development of the state.”

He added: “Politics should not be a do-or-die. Politicians must imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship where losers must learn to accept their fate and victors must carry those who have lost along.

“I condemn in strong terms what has happened, and therefore call for investigation into the matter to ascertain what really transpired,” Musa said.