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SDP boss battered as INEC, stakeholders’ meeting in Lokoja turns violent

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Vote of thanks by Admin. Sec INEC Kogi State, Abubakar Sadiq at the ongoing second Stakeholders Meeting with INEC Chairman at Lokoja Kogi State.<br />#KogiDecides2019. Photo: TWITTER/INECNIGERIA

The meeting called by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lokoja, Kogi State, to sensitise stakeholders on preparation for the November 16 governorship election, turned violent as suspected political thugs invaded the meeting causing serious uproar.

According to a witness, the problem started when the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Natasha Akpoti, who was earlier prevented by security agents from gaining access to the venue of the meeting, insisted on attending the meeting.

Efforts by her security details to persuade her to leave the venue for peace to reign proved abortive.

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The SDP chairman in the state, Mouktar Atimah, who wanted to intervene, was beaten to a pulp in the full glare of security operatives.

At the meeting was Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu; INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu; and the Director-General of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim.

The witness added the police released tear gas to disperse the surging crowd.

Meanwhile, the Police Service Commission (PSC) had said that it would deploy 45 of its personnel to monitor police conduct in the November 16 elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.

Head, Press and Public Relations of the commission, Mr. Ikechukwu Ani, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja.

Ani stated that 20 of the personnel would be deployed to Bayelsa and 25 to Kogi to ensure that officers complied with the force’s rules of engagement.

He said cases of police misconduct that would arise from the exercise would be investigated, and any police officer found guilty would be punished accordingly.

Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) Africa has urged INEC to design a plan for flooded areas to avoid disenfranchisement of eligible voters in the Kogi and Bayelsa elections.

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The Executive Director, YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo, made this known in the organisation’s third Kogi and Bayelsa pre-election reports in Abuja.

Itodo said YIAGA Africa sent out ‘Watching The Vote (WTV)’ observers to Kogi and Bayelsa to monitor the pre-election environment and to look at key issues facing the states and INEC, among others.

He disclosed that some things observed were indicators of violence, violation of electoral codes, thuggery, selling and buying of voter cards, flooded areas, usage of weapons and so on.

Kogi State government has declared Friday, November 15, as public holiday for all schools in the state.

A statement signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Eric Aina, directed all public and private schools to have a break on November 15.

According to Aina, the break was to ensure that all students and pupils are united with their families during the election, and that schools would resume academic activities on Monday, November 18.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council (OYC) has called on Ndigbo in Bayelsa and Kogi to use their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) wisely by voting against candidates who will likely not protect their interests.

In a statement in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, yesterday, the national president of OYC, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, said that body had observed that most government policies and procedures outside Igboland had continued to make the Igbo face critical challenges and untold hardship.

He noted that aside the host community, the Igbo were the most populous in any state, adding that their input during election matter.

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INECKogiLokojaSDP
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