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Paper review: Mayhem in Rivers as sporadic shootings disrupt poll

Today, March 21, major Nigerian dailies focus on the orgy of violence which characterised Saturday’s re-run polls for some federal and state legislative seats in Rivers state.

Vanguard reports that the violence that marred the re-run polls into the National Assembly and the House of Assembly in Rivers state continued yesterday, March 20, as sporadic shootings were heard in various parts of the state causing residents to scamper for safety.

Vanguard

The paper reports that an aide to Governor Wike’s chief of staff, Mr Emeka Woke died in the shooting, according to a statement by the governor.

The governor stated that his chief of staff, Mr Woke went to monitor the rerun election result of Ikwerre local government where they were allegedly attacked by Dakuku Peterside.

Wike said following the attack, the aide of his chief of staff died on the spot.

The Punch reports that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is leading in the rivers rerun poll, having won 10 out of the 11 state constituencies where election was not cancelled, while the APC won in only the Bonny local government area.

Punch

The paper reports that the director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) Dakuku Peterside, escaped death on Sunday, March 20, when a group of gunmen opened fire on his vehicle.

But the orderly of Dakuku, Emma Esi, was not lucky as he was cut down by the bullets of the assailants.

Narrating his narrow escape, Peterside, in a statement in Port Harcourt, said: “Two Jeeps belonging to Emeka Woke, Nyesom Wike’s Chief of Staff, carrying two unknown gunmen, trailed us to UTC Junction and opened fire on my car. Our car, however, did a detour to the DSS office gate, where we drove to seek refuge but the unknown gunmen opened fire again on the SSS men on guard.

“The exchange of fire between the DSS men and the assailants lasted for more than 30 minutes. This is a very ugly experience but I thank God that my colleagues and I escaped unhurt. Today’s experience is not only terrifying but also shows the parlous state of security in Rivers State.

“If I can be engaged openly by gunmen for nearly an hour in the heart of Port Harcourt, only God knows the fate that will befall members of our party and those sympathetic to our predicament. What is happening today in our dear state is not only horrible, but also constitutes serious national security risk.”

The Guardian also reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cancelled elections due to violence.

Announcing the cancellations yesterday, March 20, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Aniedi Ikoiwak, in a statement said: Further to our earlier pronouncement on the suspension of the re-run in the six local government areas of Khana, Bonny, Gokana, Andoni, Tai and Eleme, following disturbances and violence that impeded the electoral process in those parts of the state, it has become necessary to suspend elections in Etche and Asari-Toru councils for the same reasons.

“Please note that the suspension of the re-run elections by INEC is necessitated by the need to forestall breakdown of law and order in the event of further aggravation of crisis.

“INEC needs to put all stakeholders on notice that we are still studying the situation in the other 15 local councils where collations are currently going on.”

The Nation reports that the INEC decision to suspend the poll was also necessitated because several permanent and ad hoc officials of the commission were attacked, while some were abducted and taken to unknown destinations.

Nation

The commission however noted that the suspension does not affect the constituencies where the process has been completed and the results declared by the returning officers.

The fall out of the Rivers election also dominated the front page of the Sun newspaper as it reported that security agents had to stretch themselves to the limit to avert a bloody confrontation between supporters of the APC and the PDP.

Sun

The confrontation which occurred at the Mile One divisional police headquarters in Port Har­court was sparked by alleged abduction of a collation officer and a plot to hijack the result sheet of Ward 10, Port Harcourt constituency II.

The paper reports that problem started when the collation officer whose name was given as Mrs. Adebisa Ekwi allegedly disappeared from her duty post.

When efforts to locate her whereabouts failed, she was declared abducted. But she later appeared at the Mile One police station.

However, following the arrival of, Amaechi in company of Dakuku Peterside, Davis Ikanya; Ibim Semenitari, acting managing di­rector of the Niger Delta Devel­opment Commission (NDDC), and a host of APC supporters, a shouting match ensued with Governor Wike who also came to the station with some and PDP men.

Sports

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