States election in Edo: Ballot snatching, police efforts

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The Police impounded over 50 cars on Saturday, 18 March, during the state election.

The cars were caught violating the restriction of the movement order placed on election day.

They were impounded to the headquarters of the Edo state police command in Benin city.

As early as 8.30 am, INEC officials were already in their various polling units.

There were tightened security operatives drawn from the Police, the military, the Department of State Service (DSS), the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the National Drug law enforcement agency, the Prison Armed Squad, the EFCC and other paramilitary organisations.

The unarmed operatives were deployed directly to the polling stations while the heavily armed men were deployed 300 metres away from the voting centres.

Stray bullet hits a voter
Stray bullet hits a voter

Heavily armed security teams were placed in strategic places across Benin city and other parts of Edo state.

Men of the police tactical teams were on regular patrol around the metropolis to respond to any distress call.

In most polling stations visited, voting went on peacefully under the watchful eyes of security agents.

All the roads in Benin city were devoid of vehicular movement except those on essential duty.

The security agents who barricaded the road were spotted checking some vehicles on essential duty before allowing them to pass.

But it was bad news for voters in Uhogwa village, where the IDP camp is located in Ovia North local government area of Edo state, as some unknown gunmen invaded the polling station.

The armed men who stormed the voting centre around 9 am destroyed INEC materials and carted away ballot boxes, ballot papers and other election materials.

As of 2 pm, there was no election in the area.

An eye witness told Standard Gazette that " they accredited us for the voting exercise, we suddenly saw a car loaded with some boys with arms.

"They just rushed to the voting centre and started shooting. They took all the voting materials away including BVAS. During the shooting, the gun bullets hit one of the voters who are now in the hospital in Benin city".

The Election Commissioner of Police for Edo state, CP Ben Okolo, led a team of security commanders in the state to monitor the voting exercise in most parts of Benin city.

The Police commissioner was able to attend to some security concerns raised by the people.

The Election police commissioner, CP Ben Okolo, then directed the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Ogida Division to immediately mobilise strike force men to Uhogwa to control the situation.

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