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PDP agents arrested, detained as violence erupts in Akpabio’s domain

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No fewer than seven agents of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who attempted to resist unlawful electoral practices have been arrested and detained at Essien Udim Divisional Police Headquarters in Akwa Ibom State. No charges had been preferred against them.
This followed violence in Essien Udim Local Government Area, Senator Godswill Akpabio’s domain in the Ikot Ekpene division of the state.

Led by Idorenyin Akpabio, officer in Charge of Anti-Robbery Squad accompanied by some policemen and hoodlums in fake army uniform had invaded polling units, shooting and carting away electoral materials from the unit in Essien Udim. In Polling Unit 9 of Ukana West, Ward 2 located at Independent High School where Akpabio voted, journalists were barred from the premises as ballot box stuffing was going on after alleged forceful collection of permanent voter cards (PVCs) from voters.

An eyewitness said at the Essien Udim Collation Centre in Afaha Ikot Ebak about 9.40pm, there was pandemonium as Akpabio, soldiers and police stormed the centre shooting sporadically, as everyone except Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s presiding officers and ad-hoc staff, were ordered to leave.

In the stampede, ballot boxes were brought in from outside and exchanged. The PDP agent for the local government area, Imowo Okpokpo, was forced to leave after much threat, while the INEC officials were held hostage for hours before they were released.The collation officer for Essien Udim council said he narrowly escaped being lynched when Akpabio and his loyalists forcefully took over activities at the collation centre about 10pm on Saturday.

He said they were in the process of verification and collation when Akpabio stormed the venue with several uniformed and plain clothed men after he tried to get the ad-hoc staff to suspend the use of card readers and accept the results failed.Also, one of his aides and a member of the state House of Assembly started molesting all INEC officials for their failure to cooperate.

Reacting, spokesman to Akpabio, Anietie Ekong, said the allegations were not true, saying: “The accusations are false. How would you assume that Akpabio will bring himself that low to the level of harassing ad-hoc staff.”Meanwhile, Chairman of Etim Ekpo Local Government Area, Udeme Eduo, sustained severe injuries after thugs suspected to be working for a member of the House of Representatives, Emmanuel Ekon, beat him up at Iwuken junction, while escorting electoral materials to his Udiana Emem ward 8.About eight persons were injured following a clash between PDP supporters and those of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) at the Ward 9 unit 007 in Nsit Atai Local Government Area of the state.


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