Armed men who aided the snatching of ballot boxes in Lokoja and its environs during Saturday’s governorship election were “fake policemen,” an official has said.
This was the assertion of the Kogi State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Busari.
His view was shared by the spokesperson of the police headquarters, Frank Mba, in an interview on Channels television.
It will be recalled that over 35,000 policemen were deployed for the Kogi governorship election which held on Saturday.
The police had said the huge deployment was to safeguard the ballot and not to intimidate voters.
Since the day the police arrived at the Kogi headquarters in Lokoja, they never ceased firing gunshots into the air, creating fears among voters.
Police DIG in charge of Operations, Abdulmajid Ali, said the shooting was to prove to the miscreants that they would be facing a higher firepower on Saturday.
But the police failed woefully as the ballot boxes at many of the polling units in Ward A in Lokoja, in Kotan Karfi and other parts of the state were carted away by gun-toting armed men in police uniform in full glare of security operatives manning the polling units.
Once they arrived at the units, the policemen stationed at the polling units would take to their heels leaving the harmless polling officials and voters to scamper for safety.
The other armed security on patrol also made no efforts to chase and recover the stolen electoral materials. They drove into the polling units sluggishly as if they were expecting the hoodlums to have concluded the job.
“When we get the information and by the time we get there the hoodlums had fled,” Mr Busari said on Saturday while defending his men and explaining why none of the stolen boxes were recovered.
“They are certainly fake policemen because no genuine policeman would be involved in snatching a ballot box.”
He, however, said the police were investigating the incidents and would get to the root of the matter.
In his interview, Mr Mba also said the police were investigating the reports but believed fake policemen were involved.
The fact that people were the uniform of the police does not mean they are police officers, he said.
Some of the polling units where ballot boxes were snatched include PU 16, Ward 1; PU 008 Ward 01, and Parparanda Unit 001, Ward 12.