The Saturday State Assembly elections in Kogi East, has claimed three lives; while four others have been hospitalised across the senatorial district, according to eyewitness reports.
However, Commissioner of Police in the state Hakeem Busari, said that the command recorded two deaths in the exercise, but acknowledged that there were widespread allegations of thugs in police uniforms attacking people.
Eye witnesses told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that after a peaceful and orderly take-off of the exercise in the morning, violence erupted simultaneously across the district during counting of ballots and collation with ballot box snatching.
In Olamaboro Local Government, a Community Leader of Inele, Mr Abuh Simon, was shot in the chest by gun-trotting political thugs, who had earlier snatched ballot boxes from a nearby community of Ugojo-Ubalu.
Simon was said to have been shot by the thugs along with two others, James Matthew and John Agada, allegedly on the order of one David Onoja.
Mathew and Agada survived, but Simon was however, was unlucky as he was hit directly on the chest which led to his death.
The two survivors, who sustained gunshot injuries, were said to have been rushed immediately to the hospital.
An eye-witness, Mr ThankGod Onu-Moses, National Chairman, Inele District Development Union (IDDU), who narrated the incident to NAN, said, “our place, Olamaboro Ward 5, Inele Unit 002 is the collation center for the ward.
“We were there when some people ran down to tell David Onoja that PDP was leading in Unit 004 Ugojo-Ubalu. He immediately left with some thugs in a Toyota Hilux Van straight to the polling unit.
Onu-Moses said Onoja and the thugs got there, shot into the air, violently snatched the ballot boxes from Ugojo-Ubalu unit 004 and came back to Inele unit 002.
He further alleged that the deceased community leader, who along with Matthew and Agada, approached Onoja to inquire about the boxes when he (Onoja) thinking they were out to challenge him, signaled the thugs to open fire on them.
Also at Atuma in Ankpa Local Government, two persons were allegedly killed while another two, including a woman, sustained various degrees of injuries in the milieu that ensued as a result of forceful hijack of ballot boxes
Thugs in police uniforms were also said to have invaded Atuma village shooting indiscriminately and in the process, killed one person and injured two others including a woman; and took the ballot boxes away.
The police commissioner, who promised to get to the root of the matter, called for calm.
He said: “We have already told political actors to embrace peace.
“You do not have to kill your brothers because you are looking for position. We will, however, parade arrested suspects at the end of election.’’ (NAN)