The Kogi State police command has mandated a comprehensive inquiry into the assault on the residence of Professor Hale Gabriel Longpet, the State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Lokoja. The directive was conveyed in a statement released to the media in Lokoja on Friday, signed by the State Police Command’s Police Public Relations Officer, SP William Aya,Daily Trust report.
In the issued statement, the State Commissioner of Police, Bethrand Onuoha, expressed condemnation of the attack on the REC and instructed the Deputy Commissioner of Police overseeing the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to initiate an immediate investigation.
“The command received distress today at 0311hours on the attack by unknown armed hoodlums who stormed the residence of the REC and started shooting sporadically. The police guards on duty at the residence engaged the hoodlums in a gun duel and denied them access to the premises,” stated SP Aya.
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Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has demanded the immediate arrest of Muritala Ajaka, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate in the November 11 gubernatorial election, in connection with the attack. The party’s campaign organization spokesperson, Evangelist Kingsley Fanwo, alleged that the SDP candidate and his supporters orchestrated the assault on the REC’s residence.
Fanwo expressed concern that the SDP was attempting to manipulate certain documents in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before providing them to their legal team, asserting, “They are desperate to destroy some documents in INEC to cover the heist they committed in Kogi East.”
In response, the Director of New Media Communication of the Muri/Sam Campaign Organisation, Isaiah Ijele, refuted the allegations, stating that the SDP had no reason to organize an attack on the INEC office or the REC.
The reported attack on the REC’s residence occurred in the early hours of Friday, with the REC reportedly having prior knowledge and relocating before the assailants struck. The deployment of army, police, and vigilante reinforcements reportedly thwarted the attack.
Furthermore, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called for a comprehensive investigation and heightened security protection for its personnel and assets in Kogi State. Mr. Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, emphasized the need for enhanced security in light of property damage during the incident and a previous mob siege on the state office.