By Emeka Okonkwo
Abuja — SUSPECTED bandits dressed in military uniforms have abducted some election officers and ballot boxes during legislative polls in Nigeria.
The bandits could not be established as members of the notorious Boko Haram or another terror group of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
The violations have been reported in the oil-rich Rivers State south of the country during just-ended elections.
It was earlier thought the culprits were members of the Nigerian Army (NA), because of their attire, but this has been dismissed.
“The NA has also drawn the attention of the public to mischievous activities of some selfish individuals who recruited thugs dressed in military uniform and armed to harass and intimidate their opponents,” said Colonel Sagir Musa, Acting Director of Army Public Relations.
He confirmed the culprits dressed in military attire had snatched ballot boxes and other electoral material to create an impression that the army was involved in the violations.
“Some Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staff were reportedly abducted,” Musa said.
Tukur Buratai, the army general has meanwhile set up a committee to investigate complaints relating to alleged professional misconduct by army personnel in the conduct of the elections.
“As a noble institution, the NA, hereby, reassure members of the public of its determination to deal with any of its personnel whose actions fall foul of the law,” Musa said.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with estimated 194 million people, recently held chaotic polls that saw the re-election of Muhammadu Buhari as president.
His closest rival, Atiku Abubakar has launched a court challenge.