Election violence in Kogi worse than Bayelsa – Police

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The Nigeria Police Force says the violence that erupted in Kogi State during the governorship elections was worse than that of Bayelsa State.

Elections had been disrupted in Ward 2, Lokoja, after gunshots were fired into the air by suspected thugs.

They also made away with ballot boxes, even as electorates scampered for safety.

Speaking about the situation on Channels TV’s special election programme, the Police Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, noted that although some of the incidences had been identified in the threat analysis and preventive measures were taken, a lot of things are still beyond the control of the security agencies.

“The situation in Kogi has actually been very challenging, more challenging than the situation in Bayelsa,” he said.

“The truth, however, is that we saw a great deal of this in the threat analysis we conducted earlier and we actually took a lot of measured and strategic steps to isolate and neutralise some of these problems”.

Speaking further, he blamed some of the electoral malpractices and violence on politicians who play very desperate games.

According to Mba, despite being armed, the security agencies have to exercise maximum restraint in order not to harm innocent citizens.

“When you are policing an environment where politicians play very desperate games, where politicians believe in winning at all cost, where they do not believe in the rule of law or political process, you will constantly be swimming against the tide and of course you understand that as police officers, we can never behave like thugs.

“As much as we are armed, we believe first and foremost that our weapons are given to us by the state to preserve our citizens and so even when we are responding to incidents at the polling stations, we are conscious of the fact that we need to exercise maximum restraint.

“We need to exercise a lot of due care and diligence to ensure that in trying to stop the thugs, stop the law breakers, we do not bring the innocent into harm’s way”.

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