Reports from the field in the court-ordered re-run election for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District taking place only in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, today has it that violence has been unleashed in the area by unknown gunmen.
Giving updates on the election, the acting Secretary of Akwa Ibom State Movement, AILM, a socio-political organization in the state, Solomon Abasiekong Esq, said the entire Akwa Ibom people are disappointed by a serving minister’s actions.
He said those perpetrating this election violence, should remember that election is not war but a contest of two brothers seeking to serve the masses.
He disclosed that armed thugs wielding guns and other dangerous weapons stormed Units 5 and 8 respectively in Ward 11, and carted away voting materials and abducted the INEC officials at the unit.
Abasiekong said, the thugs led by a minister’s cousin, shot indiscriminately into the air and seized all the materials.
“ The INEC officials were manhandled and abducted. As I speak, I don’t know where they are. It is very sad that the innocent INEC officials who are only here to do their job have become victims of election violence unleashed by sons of the state”, he said.
He called on the international community to take note of what is happening in Akwa Ibom state.
His spokesperson, Anietie Ekong, in a quick response said the public should “ignore infantile propaganda linking Senator Akpabio to anything that is going on in Essien Udim LGA in the name of rerun elections”.
“We have gathered that some PDP-sponsored thugs were planning to carry out a sinister plot during the rerun elections and link it to Senator Akpabio.
“Security agencies should be on the watch out for miscreants and sponsored thugs, apprehend them and visit the full weight of the law on them,” Mr Ekong said in a Facebook post, Saturday afternoon.
Mr Ekong said the minister has been in his house in Uyo, and not in Essien Udim, since Saturday morning.
Mr Akpabio lost his bid to return to the Senate for a second term in 2019 when INEC declared Chris Ekpenyong of the Peoples Democratic Party, winner of the poll.
Amid complaints of election fraud and a petition to the tribunal, the former Senate minority leader who was later appointed minister, said he was no longer interested in a repeat poll, but INEC rejected a replacement of candidate.
The electoral body is also conducting reruns for the state and federal constituencies in the area.
Both Nse Ntuen, the APC candidate for the Essien Udim State Constituency, and Emmanuel Akpan, the APC candidate for the Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim/Obot Akara Federal Constituency on Friday, announced their withdrawal from the elections.
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