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Three dead, two officers, others shot in Ekiti by-election

By Ayodele Afolabi, Ado-Ekiti
21 March 2021   |   4:25 am
The bye-election for Ekiti East Constituency 1, yesterday, ended abruptly, as thugs believed to be working for one of the political parties, opened fire that killed three people...

Photo/ PDPAkwaIbom

• S’West PDP Condemns Killing Of Innocent People
• INEC Suspends Election Over Violence
• Fayemi, Fayose Condemn Killings

The bye-election for Ekiti East Constituency 1, yesterday, ended abruptly, as thugs believed to be working for one of the political parties, opened fire that killed three people, while several others were injured. The position became vacant, following the recent death of an All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker in the State House of Assembly, Hon Juwa Adegbuyi.

Two police officers, an officer of the Federal Road Safety Commission, a Corps member and presiding officer, as well as others who were also shot during the mayhem are now in critical conditions at the Methodist Hospital, Omuo General Hospital and Ikole General Hospital.

The shootings took place at Ward 7, Unit 7, where the Senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District, Mrs. Biodun Olujimi voted. Among those that were killed was a 50-year-old Bola Adebisi and 35-year-old Tunde Ogunleye, while the identity of the third victim was unknown as at press time.

The election had just started barely two hours, when the violence erupted. The ballot boxes were forcefully taken away in Ward 9 units 9 and 8, Iludofin Quarters.

The sporadic gunshots forced voters, INEC officials and security agents to stop the election, as they scampered for safety.

Narrating her ordeal, Olujimi said she narrowly escaped being shot, when political thugs invaded her polling unit, and that she had to be ferried out of the polling unit by party supporters.

Recounting how the crisis began, Olujimi said the election started peacefully before “some APC thugs and compromised police officers disrupted the voting process.’

She said: “The leaders of APC came to the polling unit. In fact, we greeted warmly. After they left, some APC thugs who stayed behind pulled out guns and started shooting sporadically. This is the first time we would witness this. They picked the ballot box and ran away.

“A man died as he was trying to escape the scene. The policewoman guarding the ballot box was also shot in the head. The Corps member and presiding officer were hit by bullets…,” she said.

Olujimi accused the APC leaders of masterminding the horrendous attack, saying they mobilised people from all over the state for an election holding in just five wards.

A House of Representatives member and a native of the town, Hon. Femi Bamisile, described the shooting as appalling, saying no election is worth the blood of any Nigerian.

“In any election, where people are being lost, that is no longer democracy. APC was fully prepared for this election and canvassed for votes and we never wanted to kill anybody. I really don’t understand how it happened.

I didn’t want to believe that it was our party. The election started peacefully, so what could have caused shootings and killings,” he queried.

Regretting the extreme show of brutal force by political goons, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the election, Mr. Akinrinade Adeniran, said signal of war started manifesting on Friday night, when his house and cars were allegedly riddled with bullets.

“They invaded my compound on Friday and smashed my car’s windscreens with gunshots. They also shot at the roof of my building. This is no longer democracy. The people should be allowed to make their choices through their votes.”

A statement by the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Sunday Abutu, confirmed that six persons were shot.

Abutu said the State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has, however, given directive that all suspects involved must be apprehended and brought to book.

Condemning the development, Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi said no one involved in the dastardly act would go unpunished. He directed the State Commissioner of Police to ensure that everybody involved in the violence are apprehended and brought to book.

He commiserated with the families of those reportedly killed in the mayhem, as well as those that sustained injuries.

On his part, former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose has described the killing as “clear evidence of state sponsored terrorism against her own citizens, who have rejected the party in government.”

Also, the South West PDP has said the Ekiti State Commissioner of Police, Babatunde Mobayo, must be held responsible for the killing of a police
woman and two others during the bye-election.

In a statement by the party’s Zonal Director of Media and Publicity, Lere Olayinka, the Police Commissioner was accused of shielding government thugs, even after credible evidence of their criminal acts were presented to him.

The party said it was sad that blood-letting always dogs Fayemi’s footsteps whenever he is at the helm of affairs in Ekiti.

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended the bye-election.

A statement signed by the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ekiti State, Dr. Tella Adeniran, hinged the suspension on the violence that characterised the exercise.