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Edo polls: How we escaped death as election observers -CLEEN Officer

Personnel on election duty
Personnel on election duty
AGENE GODWIN, Benin
Senior Programme Officer of the CLEEN Foundation, Mrs. Chigozirim Okoro, has narrated how she and her team escaped death in the hands of political thugs at Iguododo village, hometown of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorships candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
Mrs. Okoro said thugs in the vicinity saw them recording their activities at the polling units in the village when the attack took place.
Mrs Okoro said her team sped off but the thugs gave them a hot chase until they ran into a patrol team who later gave them cover.
Speaking at a press briefing Friday on activities of security personnel deployed for election duties, she stated that a media personnel attached to their team that was caught by the thugs was beaten and almost killed.
She said it was the security personnel that rescued the media personnel and they were warned not to return to the area.
“I escaped death at Iguododo, Ize-Iyamu’s village. People signaled us to leave after they observed that we were videoing them. We were told to run away but they pursued us till we got to safety.
“Our driver was told not to go back again. The media person was still held until security officials rescued him. We saw that he was beaten and almost killed.”
Okoro noted that most security officials on election duties carried out their duties professionally by confiscating arms and dangerous weapons from party thugs in Fugar, rescuing election observers and stopping of vote buying and monetary inducements at Etsako Central and Esan North East.
She said a security personnel attached to a political appointee snatched a ballot box and electoral materials in Ward One Unit 3, Emokhuem community in Estako East local government.
Among the recommendations by CLEEN Foundation are, the need to arrest and prosecute electoral offenders and sustained efforts to resolve issues around the card readers.
According to her, “We see officers hungry and begging for money. The total welfare of officers on election duty falls short of expectations. It was a pitiable site seeing these gallant and zealous officers on duty looking weak, pale, hungry and famished.
“Most of the officers complained of having to pay their way to their duty posts. This makes them vulnerable to compromise,” she stressed.

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