In the run-up to the Saturday gubernatorial election, a series of violent incidents have occurred in Kogi and Bayelsa states, resulting in the deaths of at least three individuals and injuries to several others. These incidents have also coincided with reported attacks on the opposition in Imo State, where another election is scheduled,Daily Trust report.
In Kogi State, the incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is nearing the end of his second term and is aiming to support his preferred candidate. In contrast, the governors of Imo, Hope Uzodinma (APC), and Bayelsa, Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are both seeking reelection for their second terms.
Despite a substantial deployment of security forces in these states, concerns about rising insecurity and election-related violence persist, voiced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), civil society organizations, and others. Over the weekend, the United Kingdom issued a travel advisory to its citizens in Nigeria, advising them to refrain from traveling to the three states where off-cycle governorship elections are taking place.
Kogi State witnessed an incident in Anyigba, Dekina LGA, where several people were reportedly killed in an attack on the residence of the Director General of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) campaign organization, Sheikh Ibrahim Jibrin. The police stated that their operation was prompted by intelligence suggesting that the residence was harboring political thugs armed with dangerous weapons. The attack resulted in a crossfire between the security personnel protecting the SDP chieftain and the intruders, leading to casualties, including the killing of Inspector Samson Atabo.
In Bayelsa State, suspected thugs launched an attack with explosives on the residence of PDP chieftain Chief Diekivie Ikiogha, near the residence of former President Goodluck Jonathan in Yenagoa. While the details of the incident remain sketchy, the police dispatched an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit to the scene to investigate. Additionally, two unidentified individuals sustained gunshot wounds after an attack by unidentified thugs in the Opolo area of the state capital.
To ensure a peaceful election, the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, announced directives, including a ban on vehicular movement in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa states between 12:01 am and 6 pm on Saturday. Movement via waterways and some state security outfits were also restricted. Additional security assets and personnel were deployed to the states to enhance security arrangements for the elections.