March 9 Governorship Polls: How Army foiled planned attempts to disrupt, rig elections; arrest several impostors, fake soldiers, ballot box snatchers, rescue kidnap victims

The Nigerian Army on Monday night gave details of series of arrest of several ballot box snatchers, fake soldiers and impostors and how many kidnap victims were rescued by troops in Imo, Rivers, Abia and other states during last Saturday 9th March governorship elections.

The Army noted that for its intervention, unscrupulous elements especially political thugs and their sponsors would have had a field day perpetrating their illegal activities and denying electorates the freedom to perform their franchise.

A statement by Col Sagir Musa, Acting Director, Army Public Relations, detailing how the arrests were made said, “During the periods of the 2019 General elections, Nigerian Army (NA) supported the Civil Police to ensure a secure and peaceful conduct of the elections across the nation.

‘Despite pockets of crisis witnessed in few states, the election was conducted in a secure and peaceful atmosphere.

“To achieve this, the Army in conjunction with other security agencies struggled to checkmate criminals, kidnappers, political thugs, ballot box snatchers from having a field day to perpetuate their selfish illegal activities, in some instances at the detriment of soldiers’ lives as witnessed in Abonema and Andoni in Rivers State.

“Specific instances abound where kidnappers and other hooligans were intercepted by the personnel of the Nigerian Army in many parts of Nigeria.

“For example, around Everyday Super Market in Owerri , Imo State, 4 impostors in military uniform (Woodland camouflage), – Mr Chinedu Odogwu, ,Longinus Okelue , Oguzie Princewell and Kelvin Samalia were arrested while escorting a prominent female politicians in a political party vehicle.

“This development further reaffirmed Nigerian Army’s earlier warning to members of the public of the activities of some unscrupulous individuals that sponsored thugs to defend and further their selfish political objectives.

“Accordingly, 34 Brigade troops on Operation Safe Conduct deployed around Osisioma junction, Abia State also arrested Mr Allwell Enwereji and five others conveying already thumb printed ballot papers in his vehicle.

Col Sagir said on questioning, the said EnwerejSimilarly the ballot papers were specimens for campaign.

” Investigation is on to ascertain the culpability of the suspects.

“Similarly, troops on patrol around power plant substation Odukpani LGA, in Cross River State rescued Mr Authur Nkama who was earlier kidnapped at Ikot Ansa, in Calabar Municipal Area Council, Cross River State.

“Troops also intercepted and arrested suspected ballot box snachers at Airforce junction near Ngor Okpala LGA in Imo State on the 9th of March 2019.

” On sighting the troops, the suspects abandoned their vehicle and run into the bush. Items recovered included one Sienna Bus, one pump action gun with 11 live cartridge, voters cards and assorted ATMs bearing different names.

“In another development, troops also rescued INEC Staff abducted by hoodlums at Ohafia Technical College in Anna Village in Abia State on the 9th of March 2019.

“Four of the suspects have been arrested while efforts are on to apprehend other fleeing members of the gang.

“The suspects have been handed over to the police for further action.

“Similarly, five political thugs were nabbed at Lokpanta, on the 9th of March 2019 while on thier way to disrupt election in Lekwesi community in Abia State.

“Items recovered from them include camouflage trousers, daggers and assorted charms.

Accordingly, below are some pictures of specific incidents across some states that if allowed could have caused serious security breaches across the nation.

Some of these photographs are already trending in the social media.

Sagir Musa
Acting Director Army Public Relations
11 March 2019


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