Bauchi: Gunmen storm polling unit, set materials ablaze

Gunmen used to illustrate the story

Gunmen on Saturday stormed a polling unit in Bagurun Primary School of Darazo Local Government Area of Bauchi State, firing gunshots sporadically into the air and forcing voters to scamper for safety.

This is contained in a statement signed by the spokesman of the Bauchi State Police Command, Haruna Mohammed, and made available to journalists.

The statement said the gunmen arrived at the place in six vehicles and thereafter gathered all election materials and set some of them ablaze.

“The timely intervention of combined security forces, comprising the Police and Army, forced the suspects to abandon their mission and escape to unknown destination.

“This enabled the electorate to put off the fire and save both the sensitive and non-sensitive materials.

“Normalcy was restored in the area and the electorate continued casting their votes unhindered under tight security,” the spokesperson said.

It is not clear if the gunmen are members of the Boko Haram whose activities have caused the death of about 20,000 in North-East Nigeria since 2009 and who vowed to disrupt the elections. The insurgent group also attacked voters in different communities of neighbouring Gombe on Saturday killing 9 people including a state lawmaker and a policeman.

Mr. Mohammed, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, also confirmed the arrest of a 24-year-old man, Abdul Umar, in possession of a locally made pistol, seen loitering around Katako ward of Warji Town in the state.

The statement said Abdullahi Samaila and Nasiru Adamu also found in possession of 29 permanent voter cards at Marga Primary School Polling Unit of Ganjuwa Local Government Area were also arrested.

According to the statement, INEC Smart Card Reader machine and some election materials at Jauro Gani Village Polling Unit of Alkaleri Local Government Area of the state were snatched by unknown persons.

However, the Community Head of Goro area of Dutse Alhaji in Bwari Area Council of Abuja, Abubakar Bako, said the 2015 elections could turn out to be the country’s best.

Mr. Bako, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria, said the electorate had shown unparalleled zeal to ensure their votes counted.

He said the elections had put an end to voter apathy and complacent toward politics by the people.

“What we are witnessing today in this community is unprecedented and we hope to keep flame burning.

“The turnout is so impressive because since I began participating in elections this has been the most participated,’’ he said.

Bryan Sims, an international election observer, expressed displeasure on the attitude of some of the electoral officers.

“In Abuja city, there were incidences of late delivery of INEC materials and these had caused the delay in the process in some areas.’’

He, however, described voters’ calmness to expression of maturity and readiness to nurture the country’s democracy.


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