Police and other security agencies on Wednesday dispersed protesters trying to attack the Kogi state office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Some suspected supporters of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) had stormed the state secretariat of INEC on Wednesday morning, protesting against alleged “INEC’s tampering with election materials”.
The protest at first started peacefully, until some of the protesters started throwing harmful objects and harassing passers-by.
Security agencies, however, dispersed the protesters with tear gas and barricading the road leading to the office.
The protesters were demanding that the election materials be moved to Abuja.
One of the protesters who identified himself as Danjuma, told newsmen that they were sure the materials at the INEC office had been compromised by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“We have it on good authority that the APC and Yahaya Bello have tampered with the election materials.
“The materials they are taking to the tribunal have already been doctored. So we are calling on INEC to take the original material to INEC, or we will make Kogi State ungovernable.
“We are calling on the president and also the National Chairman of INEC to ensure the doctored materials are immediately replaced with the original ones before they are presented at the tribunal. Anything other than that will be resisted,” he said.
Kogi Commissioner of Police, Mr Bethrand Onuoha, who addressed the protesters, warned trouble makers not to create problem for Kogi since election had come and gone peacefully.
“I was taken aback when some SDP protesters filed out with various placards trying to barricade the INEC.
“I had to address them against that and urged them to go away and use the tribunal to address whatever grievances so as not to create problem for our peaceful state.
“As security agency, we are imploring the politicians and INEC to follow the legal constitutional process since the issues are being handled by the Election Petition Tribunal,” he said.
The SDP, in statement issued by Mr Faruk Adejoh-Audu, Spokesman, Muri-Sam Governorship Campaign Council, disowned the protesters and branded them as Gov Yahaya Bello’s sponsored thugs.
“Over 500 persons, most of them thugs have been deployed to the INEC office in Lokoja to attack lawyers and forensic experts of the SDP, to prevent them from examining documents and materials emanating from the Kogi Nov. 11 governorship elections.
“The thugs and posters procured for them have also been detailed to attack and sack the office to ensure the materials needed for our party to prosecute its petition at the tribunal are compromised,” Faruk alleged.