2023 elections

March 19, 2023

C’River: Thugs invade INEC collation centre, disrupt process in Ogoja

…they destroyed laptops, duplicate result sheets

…we are lucky to have survived – Guber Collation officer

By Ike Uchechukwu, Calabar

Political thugs numbering more than 50 suspected to be loyal to the ruling All Progressives Congress at about 2.15 am on Sunday invaded the INEC collation centre for the Ogoja State Constituency disrupting the ongoing collation of results.

Vanguard gathered that they also vandalised the place and carted away election materials, and phones while beating up many ward collation officers.

Multiple sources at the Collation Centre told Vanguard that trouble started when results from Nkum Irede were announced and the figures did not go down well with the APC Agents, who sensing massive defeat, decided to raise alarm and invite their supporters to invade the Collation Centre.

One of the sources said that the Nkum Irede Ward result was the seventh out of the ten Political Wards in Ogoja Local Government Area, of PDP was clearly coasting to victory.

The injured Collation officer Mbube East, Dr Paul Bassey told Vanguard at the Police Clinic Ogoja where he was been treated for injuries inflicted on him by the invaders thanked God for giving him a second chance.

“I thank God for sparing my life from the over thirty fierce-looking thugs, they took my laptop and destroyed duplicate result sheets.

“One of my colleagues is still been treated in the theatre and I pray he comes out alive as heavy stones and planks were used on him,” he said.

The Electoral Officer for Ogoja Local Government Area, Mr Peter Kolo who also confirmed the incident said the hoodlums broke all security barriers to disrupt Collation with the intent to destroy election results

His words: “As I talk to you we have recovered all the results from both the BIVAS and uploaded results in the portal and we will soon resume announcing results from the three remaining wards.

Also corroborating, the Ogoja State Constituency Collation Officers, Dr Timothy Ellah of the University of Calabar said he was beaten heavily by thugs who carted away some result sheets with minor injuries sustained.

“We have however recovered all the results and we are ready to resume announcing the results,” he said.

Prof. John Undie, the Governorship Collation Officer for Ogoja Local Government said they were lucky to have survived the attack.

Prof. Undie explained that everyone inside the hall was beaten mercilessly but commended the police for drafting in more officers to quell the invaders, which he pointed out were hell-bent to subvert the will of the people.

When our Correspondent visited the Collation centre at 9 am Sunday morning, Ward Collation officers were seen putting the finishing touches, and cross-checking figures to resume Collation for the remaining three wards.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Irene Ugbo confirmed the attack, adding that many of the suspected thugs have been arrested and are currently been profiled to ascertain the level of each of the arrested person’s involvement in the attack.