BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
Over one hundred residents of Osun State who were journeying in their vehicles and motorcycles to their various polling units to cast their votes were on early Saturday stranded after flouting movement restrictions.
The residents, who displayed their Permanent Voters Cards, claimed they had woken before 5am in order to beat the restriction of movement order of the Nigeria Police.
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, had ordered the restriction of all forms of vehicular movement on roads, waterways, and other forms of transportation, from 12am to 6pm on election day in all states where elections will be conducted with the exception of those on essential services such as officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Electoral Observers, Accredited Media and Observers, Ambulances responding to medical emergencies, firefighters among others
A statement issued on Friday by the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, noted that the directive excludes the Federal Capital Territory as no election is being conducted therein.
The soldiers on election duty stopped the residents who drove their personal vehicles and rode on motorcycles at the front of the INEC headquarters in the state, directly opposite the Osun State House of Assembly Complex, Abeere, Osogbo.
At about 8am when The Point correspondent arrived the scene, over hundred road users were standing and pleading with the soldiers to allow them continue journeying with their vehicles and motorcycles, but their pleas failed to yield positive results as the soldiers said their vehicles and motorcycles would only be released after the end of the restriction order on Saturday.
“These people were stopped for flouting movement restriction order. We started stopping them as early as 5am. They can trek to their polling units since they claimed to be on their way to vote but they can’t move with their vehicles and motorcycles. The vehicles and motorcycles will be released after the election,” one of the soldiers who was carrying a riffle told our correspondent.
The stranded residents subtly protested their stoppage and claimed they had woken so early in order to escape being stopped.
An elderly man who displayed his PVC and identified himself as Abubakar Bashir from Owode-Ede, said he was living in Osogbo before he moved to Owode-Ede, saying that he was on his way to cast his vote before he was stopped whole driving his car by the soldiers.
Another resident who identified himself as Pastor James said, “We have never experienced this situation before since we have been voting in Osun State. We always move to our polling units in Osogbo by our car and motorcycles because it’s very far. They should allow us move with our vehicles. Most of us were stopped as early as 5am today.”
Speaking with a top military officer, he said the soldiers were only enforcing the movement restriction order and that it had been announced that there would be restrictions of movements from 12am till 6pm on Saturday.