Suspected thugs on Monday evening invaded Jos North Local Government Area, venue of the collation centre for the Presidential and National Assembly elections in Plateau North Senatorial district of Plateau State.
The incident led to disruption of the declaration of results for the national assembly seats in the district because the thugs chased away officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and ad-hoc staff.
An official of the Jos North LGA, identified as Shittu, who witnessed the disruption at the collation centre confirmed the development to a radio station, Jay FM, in Jos.
The council official said, “Trouble started when the party agents were asked to sign the results for the Bassa/Jos North Federal Constituency as announced by the returning officer, Nehemiah Sanda, which indicated that the PDP candidate, Musah Agah won the election with 59,337.
“However, the agent of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) candidate who scored the second highest number of votes with 58,460 rejected the results and insisted that no result sheets would be signed at the collation centre nor the winner be announced.”
“As the INEC officials were trying to prevail on the party agent to allow them do their job, the thugs believed to be loyal to the PRP invaded the collation centre and chased the INEC officials away and prevented them from declaring the winners. We don’t know what the thugs could have done if not that a senior police officer DC Afebuamhe quickly came in and seized the election results,” Shittu added.
“Yes, it is true that thugs invaded our collation centre while we were doing our job. It is now up to the INEC to know what to do next,” News Agency of Nigeria quoted Sanda saying.
Lazurus Maigoro, the returning officer at the collation centre, also confirmed the disruption of the election exercise by the thugs
Maigoro said “Yes, it is true that thugs invaded our collation centre while we were doing our job. It is now up to the INEC to know what to do next”
Reports also show that before the thugs invaded the collation centre, they had earlier attacked a collation officer, Leritshimwa Amagon while on her way to the Council Secretariat.
It was learnt that Amagon who is the collation officer for Naraguta B Ward, in Jos North Local Government Area was returning collated results for the National Assembly election when thugs attacked her on the way and snatched some of the recorded result sheets.
Oliver Agundu, the State’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), said he would act accordingly after receiving the report of the officers involved.
”I wasn’t at the scene of the incident and I have been busy with the collation of results for the presidential elections in the state,” Agundu said.
”But I will meet with the officers, get a proper briefing and then act accordingly.
”But I want to assure the people of Plateau that as an electoral umpire, we will not do anything that will sabotage the peaceful nature of the state.”
However, Dachung Bagos, the lawmaker representing Jos South /Jos East Federal Constituency, called on INEC to declare the results within 24 hours to avert any situation that would lead to crisis in Jos and its environs.
”Elections in Jos north/Bassa constituency were held peacefully and results were equally collated in a peaceful manner,” Bagos said.
”I think declaring the winner of the election should not generate any tension because all electoral processes were duly followed.
”So, I urge INEC to announce the results for the constituency and that of the northern senatorial district within the next 24 hours.”