Monday, April 15, 2024

Police report indicts Ogun APC, Abiodun on electoral violence

The Nigeria Police has indicted the Ogun State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress and Governor Dapo Abiodun of alleged electoral violence and ballot box snatching during the March 18 governorship election in the state.

The police in a report, dated Wednesday, August 2, 2023 also indicted APC and Abiodun of alleged breach of the Electoral Act 2022.

The People’s Democratic Party and its governorship candidate, Ladi Adebutu, had petitioned the Inspector General of Police to investigate Abiodun and APC of alleged vote buying, electoral violence and voters’ intimidation during the March 18 governorship election.

The petitioners also accused Abiodun of using N3billion of state funds to induce voters and thugs to disrupt elections in several parts of the state.

However, the police after investigation said they arrested some of the suspected thugs allegedly hired by the APC to cause chaos and disrupt elections at polling units where the party was not doing well.

The report which was released on Monday was signed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Command, Mohammed Babakura.

The police in the 35-page report, titled: “Police Investigation Report on Case of Breach of Electoral Act 2022 Through Vote Buying, Snatching And Destruction of Ballot Papers and Boxes, Thuggery And Causing Harm To Voters In Ogun State” said, the suspects confessed their roles in the disruption of the election.

According to the report, one of the suspected thugs, identified as Sanu Jamiu confessed to the police that, he and 15 others were employed by one Efuje, an ally of governor Abiodun from the Iperu-Remo area of the state to cause mayhem during the election.

The report further revealed that Jamiu and his gang members were paid the sum of N50, 000 to disrupt the election.

The police said it also arrested another suspect, identified as Seun Samuel who also confessed that he was hired by Damilola Kayode Soneye representing Obafemi Owode Federal constituency to work for APC as a ballot box snatcher during the governorship election.

The police report quoted Jamiu as saying: “In the month of February, 2023, one Efuje a.k.a Alhaji who was once a councilor in Ward 5, Iperu-Remo and an APC member, invited him to work as a political thug for Prince (DR) Dapo Abiodun for the period of election and promised a handsome compensation.

“In addition, he stated that he was in a group of about sixteen thugs contracted by the said Efuje and they were all given fifty thousand naira (N50,000:00k) to share before the presidential elections when he first met with Efuje.

“The group of 16 was led by one Kehinde a.k.a Alara. During the 2023 presidential elections, Efuje, on behalf of Governor Dapo Abiodun instructed the thugs that each polling unit should be manned by three thugs such that there will be no incidence of ballot box snatching.

“However, on 18th March 2023, during the gubernatorial election, Efuje called at about 7am and instructed the thugs to move around all the polling units and observe the trend of elections.

“At about 3pm of same day, Efuje called back stating that the PDP was winning elections at St. John primary school Ward 5 and instructed that they should move there and cause mayhem, snatch the ballot boxes and destroy them which they did immediately.

“He stated that they arrived the aforementioned polling unit on motorcycle, caused violence, snatched the ballot box and took it to Ansar Ud Deen Primary School, Powerline area of Iperu-Remo where they emptied the ballot papers from the box and also destroyed the ballot box before they left.

“Lastly, Sanu Jamiu stated clearly that he knows that Efuje takes directives directly from Governor Dapo Abiodun before passing the same to the thugs to act”, the report quoted Jamiu to have said.

However, the Chairman of APC in Ogun State, Yemi Sanusi, in the report denied the allegations of violence, saying he did not know any of the thugs mentioned in the petition.

“Being the Chairman of the party and also mentioned in the petition, he stated that having perused the petition against his person, he doesn’t know anything about the allegations leveled against him by the petitioner.

“That he voted at Alagbaa village, Orile-Ilugun, Odeda local Government Area where he did not give anyone money, there was no ballot box snatching nor were there crises in all the local governments,” it quoted Sanusi as saying.

On the alleged vote-buying, the report said “The APC presented witnesses and beneficiaries who received the top-up cards prior to the 2023 general elections as part of the Social Investment Programme, thereby confirming that the top-up cards were utilised for the Ogun State Social Investment programme, the PDP in its own strength as well, presented witnesses who claimed that the top-up cards were given to them to canvass for their votes.”

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