Police arrest over 20 suspected troublemakers in Owo, Ondo State.
No fewer than 21 persons were on Saturday arrested in Owo town for various offences during Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State.
The Commissioner of Police in charge of Owo and Ose local government areas of Ondo State, Mr Abutu Yaro, told one of our correspondents that many persons had been arrested for causing trouble during the exercise.
Sunday PUNCH observed that at least 20 persons arrested during the poll were at the Area Command at Ijebu Owo area of Owo town at 6.30pm.
Two of those arrested were seen at the back of a police patrol van.
The police commissioner said his team rescued a man who was being lynched after claiming that he was an election observer.
He said the man was arrested for allegedly trying to induce voters.
The unidentified man, who claimed to be an election observer at Ward 4, Polling Unit 15, Shagari Market along the Owo-Benin Expressway, was accused of approaching voters to sell their votes when he was reportedly attacked.
Yaro said, “The man was arrested by the mob and the mob was even trying to lynch him. They had already torn his clothes.
“Then, we ran into them. That was when they stopped the attempt to lynch him.
“In fact, at the time we picked him up, his colleague, who was in another car, took off. The proactive measure adopted by the members of the public was what saved the situation.
“They wanted to mob him because he was there for the purpose of buying votes and the voters resisted selling their votes.”
The unidentified man, however, denied the allegation and refused to give his name and the name of the organisation he claimed to work for as an observer.
He said, “I appreciate the police for rescuing me but the police didn’t arrest any other person.
“I was mobbed because I drew the attention of the police to the people there because they were doing what was not right. I am not a voter, I am not a party agent. I was observing the election.”
The police also said mopping-up operations were ongoing to apprehend more troublemakers.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Tee-Leo Ikoro, stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents in Akure, but added that he could not give the number of those arrested as the election was not yet over.
The police spokesman said, “Some arrests have been made. The police have arrested some people who intended to foment trouble during the period of voting.
“You do know that the election is not over so we cannot give the number of those arrested because we are still mopping up to see whether we can make more arrests.”
Meanwhile, INEC has said there was no loss of election materials or life from a boat mishap which occurred within the Ilaje Local Government Area late on Friday.
The Ondo State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Rufus Akeju, stated this in an interview with journalists on Saturday in Akure.
He said, “INEC can confirm that there was an accident last night during the movement of personnel and materials to the registration areas of Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State for today’s governorship election.
“Fortunately, all personnel and election materials were rescued when the boat capsized.”
Akeju said the rescuing was done by the personnel of the Nigerian Navy, adding that the transportation was eventually concluded, and voting commenced as planned in all the polling units in the local government area.
But the INEC spokesperson in the state, Babalola Lebile, did not state the number of INEC officials involved the accident, saying, “Presently, the release of the REC did not indicate the number of election officials involved.”
Lebile added that the transmission of results from the units to the INEC server via Z-pads was ongoing.
He, however, failed to give the number of polling units the commission had received.
He said, “The process was seamless. It is expected that all the units will send in their results.”
An INEC official from the department of voter education said, “They are still in the process. They are still collating them. It is a website that everyone can log in and see.”
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