The Lagos State Police Command on Sunday said over 20 political thugs have been arrested in connection with cases of electoral violence and ballot box snatching recorded in parts of the state during Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections.
The spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, Benjamin Hundeyin said the police responded to hundreds of distressed calls across the 13,325 polling units in Lagos.
Hundeyin, who was a guest on The 2023 Verdict, Channels Television’s special election programme, described the incidents at Okota, Mafoluku, Oshodi, Elegushi, and other areas of the state as “a clear case of political thuggery”.
He confirmed that “political thugs came in and disrupted the process, in a particular instance, set the ballot box and the ballot papers on fire”.
He said the over 20 suspects arrested were in connection with some of these disruptions and thuggery.
“We had issues in Surulere, we had issues in Oshodi, we also had issues in Oke-Afa. We are still collating. So far, we have over 20 political thugs arrested and we also have over 10 polling units where these issues occurred,” the police spokesman said.
He said the police already prepared for some polling units where challenges were anticipated but “the control room was very busy yesterday (Saturday).”
“It wasn’t like armed men were not there; they were there but we kept moving men around as the need arose,” he explained.
“We have 13,325 polling units in Lagos State. We had distress calls in hundreds of them and we responded swiftly and restored the sanctity of the elections.
“Unfortunately, people don’t want to talk about it because they feel the police are doing their job. So, less than 50 where we had issues is what everybody is talking about which is okay because that is the news.
“We had many instances where armed men responded on time. We have one or two in Mafoluku,” he stressed.
Already, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu stated that the commission has again met with security agencies like the Nigeria Police Force, amongst others to strengthen security at polling units where violence was recorded on February 25 ahead of the March 11 governorship and state assemblies’ polls.