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NEWS2023 polls: Uncertainty as unknown gunmen, bandits renew attacks, killings

Five weeks to the February presidential election, palpable fear has gripped electorates in some parts of the country over the renewed attacks by the daredevil unknown gunmen wreaking havoc in the Southeast and the bandits causing mayhem in other parts of the nation.

There have been several deadly attacks by gunmen in many parts of the country in the last few days, as the assailants continue to disrupt political activities and kill unsuspecting citizens.

DAILY POST recalls that several passengers were on January 8 abducted from a train station in the Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State by gunmen.

The gunmen attacked the victims while they were waiting to board a train heading to Warri in Delta State.

few days later, unknown gunmen on January 16 attacked the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State, gunning down a police officer.

The development came a few hours after a similar incident in Imo State which led to the killing of a local security man and destruction of properties belonging to the commission.

It could be recalled that armed men dressed in Eastern Security Network, ESN, regalia, on January 15, stormed the INEC Office at Ahiazu Local Government Secretariat in search of staff distributing PVCs but later killed a security guard.

Similarly, suspected political thugs on Thursday, January 19 attacked a campaign rally of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rumuwoji Playground in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. Several party members were injured in the unfortunate attack.

This is even as gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen invaded the Abagana community in Makurdi, the Benue State capital killing at least nine persons.

Entire members of a family of six were all whipped out in the unfortunate attack which occurred near an Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs camp. Two of the nine victims were said to be IDPs

Also, gunmen yet-to-be-identified on Friday invaded a meeting organised by members of the APC at Mkpuma Akataka Community in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, killing two persons.

It was gathered that the APC members were seated for the meeting when the armed men invaded the venue and opened fire on the participants, killing two, while others were seriously injured.

Reacting, some stakeholders who spoke with DAILY POST on Saturday, insisted that despite the deteriorated security crisis, the elections must still hold.

A chieftain of the Labour Party, Mr Innocent Iduh, who spoke to DAILY POST in Abuja, suggested that the attacks were being sponsored by those seeking power.

He said, “It is all politics. They sponsor terrorists and bandits to attack and destroy places where they are not certain of winning.

“If you check very well, Southeast is for Peter Obi and that is why you see that they are sponsoring attackers to instil fear in the voters so that they don’t come out on the election day.

“Check very well, when was the last time you heard of an attack in Kano and other places where the big parties are expecting many votes? It doesn’t happen.

“My advice to the INEC is to go ahead with the election. Postponing the election is like continuing with the evil people. We need a change of government”.

Also speaking with DAILY POST, Paul Ibe, the spokesperson for Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said stopping the election due to the security reality may not go well with the country’s democracy.

Ibe also blamed the renewed attacks on the inability of the security agencies to apprehend the culprits of previous attacks.

He said, “We have been consistently saying that if the culprits are not apprehended and prosecuted to serve as deterrent, others will want to do the same and this is what is happening now.

“The security agencies have a responsibility like every other person. The INEC and everyone has their own beat to provide security during the election”.

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