A Divisional Police Officer attached to Magama Local Government area of Niger State (names withheld) was on Saturday accused of snatching four ballot boxes and papers at the Mungoro central polling unit of the Majin ward.
He was also alleged to have tear-gassed officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission and electorate who were on a queue to cast their votes.
An eyewitness, Mr. Ibrahim Rege, said the accreditation of voters was peacefully conducted and that voting was in progress when the DPO invaded the polling unit, fired tear gas canisters at the crowd and allegedly took the ballot boxes and papers away.
Rege said, “The entire voting process was on course peacefully. Accreditation was peacefully carried out and voters were orderly on the queue to cast their vote when the DPO stormed the polling unit, tear-gassed both INEC officials and the people before carting away the ballot boxes together with the thumb-printed and virgin ballot papers”.
He complained that people in the area had cause to report the DPO to the Area Commander recently, accusing him of personally destroying posters and bill boards of APC candidates.
The Deputy Governor of the state, Mr. Ahmed Ibeto, who hails from the area, said he was informed of the incident and expressed concern at the unprofessional behaviour of the police officer.
Ibeto corroborated the allegation of bias levied against the DPO.
But when contacted on telephone, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Emmanuel Amore, denied the allegation and explained that the DPO only helped to rescue the INEC officials and materials from hoodlums.
Amore said, “It is not true; my DPO only protected the INEC officials and their materials from some hoodlums. They are only making allegations because they were not allowed to carry out their nefarious activity.
“Go and ask INEC if any of their material is missing. My DPO only helped to protect the INEC officials and materials”.
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