The Nigerian Army has detailed some of its engagements over the course of 2019 general elections, especially in the South East and South South, to include interception of kidnappers, hooligans, impostors, the arrest of persons with thumb printed ballot papers and ballot box snatchers.
In a statement by the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, the Army gave specifics of its activities such as the arrest of one Mr Allwell Enwereji and five others in Abia State for conveying already thumb-printed ballot papers, interception of ballot box snatchers in Imo State, nabbing impostors in military uniform also in Imo State.
The Army also listed its other activities as the rescue of one Mr Authur Nkama who was earlier kidnapped in Cross River State, checkmating criminals, kidnappers, thugs who threatened soldiers’ lives in Rivers State, its rescue of INEC staff from hoodlums in Abia State and interception of political thugs on their way to disrupt election in Abia State.
Some of the Items recovered in the various incidents were camouflage trousers, daggers, assorted charms, thumb-printed ballot papers, one Sienna bus, one pump action gun with 11 live cartridges, voter cards and assorted ATM cards bearing different names.
While noting that investigation had commenced into the various incidents, the Army held that the development confirmed its earlier warning about plans by some politicians to empower thugs to jeopardize the peaceful conduct of the general election.
The statement read: “During the periods of the 2019 General elections, Nigerian Army (NA) supported the Civil Police to ensure secure and peaceful conduct of the elections across the nation.
“To achieve this, the NA 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 NA 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 politician in a political party vehicle.
“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.
“On questioning, he claimed the ballot papers were specimens for the campaign. The 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 snatchers 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 ran into the bush. Items recovered included one Sienna bus, one pump action gun with 11 live cartridges, voters cards and assorted ATM cards 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 their way to disrupt election in Lekwesi community in Abia State. Items recovered from them include camouflage trousers, daggers and assorted charms.”
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