By Isaiah Eka
Uyo, Feb. 18, 2019 (NNN) The Akwa Ibom Police Command says it has arrested 10 persons suspected of setting ablaze, 11 vehicles of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the coming general elections.
The command said the offence was committed at the INEC office in Obot Akara Local Government Area of the state.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Bashir Makama, disclosed this on Monday while briefing Newsmen on the security situation in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) reports that the vehicles were meant to convey election materials from Uyo to Obot Akara.
Makama, who was represented by the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Macdon Odiko, said the 10 suspects were arrested on Feb. 15, being the eve of the postponed elections at about 10:05pm.
He explained that the hoodlums during the period macheted and killed one unknown person at the Obot Akara Local Government Area close to INEC office.
“Furthermore, on Feb. 15, 2019, the eve of the 2019 General Elections, at about 10:05pm, hoodlums at Obot Akara Local Government Area, close to INEC office, macheted and killed one person whose identity is unknown, burnt eleven (11) buses and vandalised two.
“The command acted swiftly and arrested ten (10) persons in connection with the crime, and the following exhibits were recovered; two locally made short guns, twenty five (25) live cartridges, weeds suspected to be marijuana, two machetes, charms of different types.
“Other items recovered include; one knife, one scissor, hot drink, cell phones, dead bird, human hairs and two axes,“ he said.
The CP said that the 10 suspects arrested would be transferred to Force Criminal Investigation Department for more investigation.
He said that the arrested persons claimed to come to the state as observers for the rescheduled elections.
He said the 41 arrested persons could not give any proper or reasonable identity of themselves and had no INEC identification tag.
Makama said that more investigation was ongoing to determine their true identity and purpose in the state.
The commissioner added that on Feb. 17, the command apprehended two suspects, who confessed to being political thugs hired from Ukwa village in Odukpani LGA in Cross River by an unidentified politician.
The CP urged politicians to play the game according to the rules and advised supporters to conduct themselves peacefully during the general elections.
He assured that the command would remain non partisan, apolitical, neutral and was committed to free, fair and credible elections.
Speaking to newsmen, one of the suspects from Bayelsa, Okoroda Scaine (M), said that 41 of them came to Akwa Ibom as election observers under Society for Advancement for Credible Leadership and Observation.
“ I am Okoroda Scaine from Bayelsa, we all submitted our passports to Society for Advancement for Credible Leadership and Observation, an organisation that is registered and accredited by INEC for the elections.
“We are told that our names were sent to INEC and we will likely monitor the elections in Uyo here.
“We came on Thursday to confirm if our names were there or not. We were in the room at Angeline Hotel when we were arrested at about 3 am on Feb. 15.
“We were lodged in the hotel by one Berafa Bedfon, who we cannot reach now. We are 41 in number, and our intention was to come to Akwa Ibom and check if our names are there,” he said. (NNN)
Edited by Chioma Ugboma/Julius Toba-Jegede