Gunmen on Friday morning attacked the residence of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Lokoja, Kogi State, Hale Gabriel Longpet, burning several vehicles.
According to a release from the Independent National Electoral Commission, the armed men engaged the security personnel in a gun battle for over 30 minutes until reinforcements arrived.
SaharaReporters learnt that the REC’s residence was attacked by the gunmen, amid threat to his life not to release election material for the governorship tribunal purposes.
In the release, INEC said, “In the early hours of today, Friday 1st December 2023, around 3.30am, gunmen attacked the residence of our Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Lokoja, Kogi State. The armed men engaged the security personnel in a gun battle for over 30 minutes until reinforcement arrived.
“While no lives were lost, property was destroyed in the ensuing gun battle. A team of combined security personnel have been deployed to protect the residence. This incident occurred a day after a mob besieged our state office. We call for a thorough investigation and enhanced security protection for our personnel and assets in Kogi State.”
SaharaReporters reported two days that the INEC headquarters in Kogi Sate came under siege as political thugs prevented workers access to their offices.
The Commission which confirmed this in a statement issued by its Resident Electoral Commissioner assured all political parties and their candidates that the Kogi State office was committed to granting unimpeded access to all materials needed to prosecute their petitions.
Titled: “Siege on the INEC State Headquarters in Lokoja,” the electoral umpire said the siege also prevented lawyers representing political parties involved in the recent off-cycle governorship election from inspecting documents/materials used in the election.
The statement had partly read: “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kogi State wishes to inform the public that the State Headquarters in Lokoja was besieged this morning by a mob that barricaded all entrances to the office and prevented access to staff to carry out routine duties.
“The siege also prevented attorneys representing political parties involved in the recent off-cycle governorship election from inspecting documents/materials used in the election.
“It took the intervention of the Nigerian Army to calm the situation down at the State Headquarters. The security agencies have assured us that they will maintain normalcy on our premises.
“We assure all parties and litigants that the Kogi State office is committed to granting unimpeded access to all materials needed to prosecute their petitions.”
SaharaReporters gathered that over 500 persons, most of them thugs, had taken over the main gate and premises of INEC office in Lokoja in order to prevent lawyers and forensic experts of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) from examining documents and materials emanating from the Kogi State November 11 Governorship Elections.
The SDP subsequently, accused the state governor, Yahaya Bello of deploying the thugs wearing SDP T-shirts and carrying posters allegedly procured by the APC, whose candidate, Usman Ododo was declared winner of the governorship election.