The Inspector General of Police(IGP), Muhammed Adamu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, along with INEC’s National Commissioners were on Tuesday teargassed while Policemen were trying to prevent a stakeholders’ meeting in Lokoja from degenerating into a free for all.
The stakeholders’ meeting and signing of peace accord amongst political parties and candidates, organised by INEC was almost disrupted when suspected thugs prevented the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Natasha Akpoti, from entering the venue.
An altercation ensued between Akpoti and security personnel at the entrance, who prevailed on her to go back. A plea which she rejected, saying she was duly invited for the meeting.
As the crowd was becoming unruly, the Police released tear gas to disperse the surging crowd, while all those at the high table, including the IGP and INEC chairman ran for cover.
The SDP Chairman in the state, Mouktar Atimah, was manhandled and beaten up while trying to mediate.
Speaking shortly after the incident, Atimah said what happened showed “the extent to which our society had got rotten.”
Meanwhile , the spokesman to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, has condemned the attack on the SDP candidate.
He explained that although Akpoti arrived late for the event, there is. o reason for anybody to prevent her from coming in.
His words: “We are inside the hall and wouldn’t know what is going on outside. One thing is sure, she did not arrive in good time as at the time the event started, but that is not enough reason for anybody to prevent her from coming inside. She has a right to take her place inside the hall.
“We have heard that she is outside and efforts are currently being made to bring her inside the hall. We need her to sign the Peace Accord, the process of which is currently on.
“We asked the Legal Officer of our Kogi State Office to go outside the hall and look for Natasha Akpoti, but he came back and reported that he searched the entire premises but could neither locate her nor her entourage.
“Now, the representative of the SDP inside the hall was asked to endorse the Peace Accord, but he refused.”