Gist: Anambra elections: Police attack protesting angry women with tear gas  (Read 1114 times)

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Many Anambra State residents are yet to recover from the hangover of last Saturday’s “inconclusive” governorship election, which has been roundly condemned as “flawed” and “shameful”.

Hundreds of women blocked yesterday the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to protest against the agency’s handling of the election.

The protesters, who identified themselves simply as “Anambra Women”, called for the cancellation of the exercise as against INEC’s plan to run a supplementary election. They described the exercise as a “disgrace to democracy”.

But the women got a raw deal from the police, who fired tear gas canisters at them. Many were injured in the ensuing stampede.

One of the women, Mrs Tina Akonobi, said they were at the commission’s office to “mourn the disaster, destruction, doom, robbery and fraud that took place on November 16.”

She told reporters: “The election was a sham, aimed at insulting the integrity, intelligence and intellectual ability of the people of the state and Nigeria in general.

“INEC brought a fraudulent register three days to the election where they removed names of voters whose names start with the letter ‘O”, like Okonkwo and Okeke, at Idemili.

“They brought fraudulent people to conduct election here; it was a scam and destruction of a generation and Igbo land.”

On the women’s demand, Mrs Akonobi said: “We are calling for the cancellation of the election and the resignation of Prof. Attahiru Jega for the doom that is impending because this is what will happen in 2015.”

Another woman, a retired school principal, Mrs Efem Ifacy, said: “We over trusted Jega and he has disappointed us.”

The election, she said created a situation where brothers fear brothers. It was a sign of socio-political divide to come among the people, she said.

Mrs Ifacy said: “I am calling on the entire Anambra populace that this election, if not cancelled and a fresh one conducted, will divide the people continually.”

Mrs Grace Nwadike, a stylist, said she saw the protesters and decided to join because the election was not credible.

Nwadike alleged massive inducement of voters by political parties, “even in the presence of security operatives, especially at Umuogwalu, Ward Four, in Awka South where I voted.

According to her, many did not vote in many areas there were no election materials.

For Mrs Nkiruka Okoye, an indigene of Awka, the “shabby” conduct of the election could disrupt the peaceful co-existence of the people.

“What we want is to lay a solid foundation for our children’s future. Our anger is that the poll was not conducted well and this was obvious,” she said, adding:

“The election was not free and fair; the names of people with voters card could not be found in the voters register.

“Jega has betrayed the people of the state because he promised the whole world that he will set a pace with the Anambra election, but this is not what we have seen and with this we are not sure he can conduct the 2015 election.”

Police spokesman Emeka Chukwuemeka, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, said he could not comment on the incident because he was yet to be briefed.

The Nation


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