Irate youths protesting the outcome of the Wednesday’s local government elections in Plateau State have burnt down four houses in Langtang South Local Government, the News Agency of Nigeri (NAN), reports.
A NAN correspondent, who covered the Thursday protests, reports that the youth were angry that the results of the polls were not declared at the local government collation centre.
A top security personnel told NAN that the youth, who were waiting for the local government Returning Officer to collate results brought from the wards, got enraged when Governor Simon Lalong announced on Radio that the winners would be sworn in by 2 p.m.
“They were shocked when a candidate they claimed did not win the polls was announced as the winner,” the source said.
According to him, the protest began peacefully with the youths chanting war songs and accusing the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) of “cheating”, as they marched through the streets.
“But, the protest turned violent when some youths decided to attack the houses of those they suspected had connived with PLASIEC officials to `steal’ their mandate.
“Within a very short while, three houses belonging to some prominent persons and an official of PLASIEC were burnt down by the irate youths,” the security personnel, who craved anonymity, told NAN. ’
He identified houses burnt as belonging to Andrew Sambo, the Electoral Officer that conducted the election in the area, and one Jackson Ponzhi, a prominent politician.
Also burnt was the residence of Nicholas Vongsin, a former chairman of Langtang South Management Committee, as well as the local government chamber where results of the elections from the wards were to be collated and announced.
Speaking on the development, Domle Simon, PDP Vice Chairman, Plateau South, blamed the state government for the destruction recorded in the area.
“The governor should have allowed the electoral officers to collate the results. The decision to swear in those that clearly lost the election was an invitation to chaos and anarchy,” he said.
Simon spoke further: “I am almost 70 years old and have been in this town all my life, but I have never seen anything like this,” he said.
He advised the state government to always be mindful of the effects of their actions on those they have sworn to lead, saying that leaders should always remember that they would give account of their actions in the hereafter.
Contacted, Terna Tyopev, spokesman of the Police Command in Plateau, said that he had heard about the crisis in the area but has yet to receive details.
“I have not been briefed by the Divisional Police Officer in the area. If I get the details, I will call you,” he said.