February 24, 2022

Enugu LG polls: Gunmen attack voters, kill 5


By Dennis Agbo, Chinedu Adonu & Ikechukwu Odu

ENUGU—FIVE persons were feared killed yesterday when gunmen attacked two polling units in Enugu communities during the Local Government elections.

However, some sources said three, not  five persons were killed.

The incident happened in Nkanu West Council area, where the gunmen were said to have invaded the polling units at Obeagu ward III and another polling unit at Akpugo.

The incident was said to have disrupted the voting exercise as  the gunmen destroyed electoral materials when the electoral officials and voters abandoned  the voting venues and scampered for safety.

During the melee, at least five persons were feared to have been killed while some people who escaped sustained matchet cuts and bullet wounds.

Two vehicles were also said to have been burnt during the attack.

In a similar vein, unknown gunmen attacked the news crew of the Enugu State Broadcasting Service, ESBS, who were covering the elections.

The media team comprised a driver, camera-man and three reporters. Also with them was a reporter with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.

Two of the  ESBS reporters, Chiamaka Ezeaputa and Chigozie Alex-Nwafor and driver, Ebuka Ogbozor however escaped the abduction.

The driver and one of the reporters, Mrs. Alex-Nwafor were said to have narrowly  missed being killed. They were attacked at Obeagu in Enugu South local government area on their way to Agbani, Nkanu West local government area.

According to them, the whereabouts of two other team members of the station, Mr. Fred Nnaji and Mr. Monday Ogbodo were unknown even as their phone lines were switched off as at the of speaking. The NAN reporter who was with them however escaped unhurt.

The  gunmen  were said to have taken the station’s utility vehicle and camera as well as the crew’s phones, cash and other valuables.

ALSO READ: Independent Observers describe Enugu LG Elections as peaceful, transparent

Reacting to the incident, the newly -elected Chairman of Nigeria Union of  Journalists, NUJ, Enugu Council, Mr. Sam Udekwe however told Vanguard that the two abducted journalists were later released but were rushed to hospital.

Udekwe condemned the  attack, stating that journalists work  for the society and are most times prone to danger.

Meanwhile, the election was generally peaceful in other parts of the state though voter apathy was visibly noticed in some areas.

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of the  state voted at his Amube Ward 11 at about 11:58 am  in Udenu Local Government Area of the state where voters turnout was impressive.

In many  polling units monitored in Udi, Oji-River council areas as well as within Enugu metropolis, few  voters were seen casting their votes.

But the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate for Udi local government, Engr. Philip Okoh commended the conduct of the exercise in his polling unit, noting that it was peaceful.

Recall that All Progressives Congress, APC, had on Tuesday protested exclusion of  it’s prefered candidates, alleging that the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission, ENSIEC, chose the candidates for the new leadership of the party in the state.

Vanguard  observed that voting started on time across Enugu North Senatorial District as election materials were distributed on time to different polling units.

The People’s Democratic Party, PDP, candidate in Nsukka Local Government Area, Walter Ozioko, in an interview with newsmen, said his party campaigned vigorously for the election, adding that he is optimistic that his party will emerge victorious at the polls.

Ozioko also said that he would concentrate  on opening up of   rural  roads to boost the  agricultural potentials of his local government if elected the chairman of the local government.

Vanguard News Nigeria