Armed thugs have violently carted away voting materials including ballot boxes, ballot papers, result sheets and card readers across many polling units in Ogor Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State.
Electoral officials and voters said they lost valuable items including mobile phones, bags and jewellery.
The Presiding Officer for Polling Unit 002 A and B, Ward 1, Central Primary School, Umuhitta Ntu, Deborah Aigbata, said she cried when the hoodlums demanded to see her.
According to her, as soon as the hoodlums arrived with dangerous weapons including guns and bottles, she ran into the nearby bush and heard them demanding to see her so as to sign the result sheets.
She said: “Immediately they came, they displayed ammunition openly and everyone ran away. They packed everything and wanted me to sign. I heard them calling PO while I was inside the bush crying seriously.
“Their plan was to kidnap me and ensure that I sign whenever they were through writing the results.”
But the presiding officer for one of the units in Ward 3 in the local government, a corps member, was not that lucky as he was reportedly beaten by the thugs.
Some of the assistant presiding officers who found their way to the local government headquarters in Umuneke Ngor village said the corps member was yet to recover from the attack and so they were unsure whether he would make it to the INEC office.
Also at the INEC office, which is located in the local government headquarters, another presiding officer for Polling Unit 001, Ward 4, Umuchukwu Hall, Ezeama Village, Sunday Okon, said he did not argue with the hoodlums.
“As soon as they brandished their weapon, I just handed everything to them. They were fully armed.”
The victims said there were no security agents in all the affected polling units.
A leader of APGA in the local government, Richard Anyaele, accused the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the House of Representatives in the zone, Bladdin Amajurionwu, of being behind the attacks.
He said; “We know all the bad boys, they are from the local government. They didn’t hide their identities. They are working for AA as instructed by their failed leader who lost out in the House of Representatives election on February 23.”
Agents of other parties including PDP, who had visited the INEC office at the local government to complain, also corroborated the APGA chief.
But efforts to reach the accused politician were unsuccessful as no one could provide his telephone number.
When PREMIUM TIMES met the electoral officer at the INEC office at the local government headquarters, she declined to comment.
She said she was already compiling her report to be taken to the state office of INEC.
When our reporter called the state spokesperson of INEC, Emmanuella Okpara, she said she could not make any official statement until she is briefed by the state electoral commissioner.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999