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Africa must heed Thabo Mbeki’s prefigurations on U

LogoDaily Independent Online.         * Monday, April 14, 2003.

Police probe alleged hijack of ballot boxes on Lagos Island

By Oguwike Nwachukwu

Daily Independent, Lagos


Police in Lagos have started probing the alleged hijack of three ballot boxes in the Lagos Island following different complaints they received from supporters of Alliance for Democracy (AD) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidates during last weeks’ election.

Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele, a major supporter of Dr. Wahab Dosunmu, a PDP senatorial candidate, had pointed  fingers at AD’s senatorial candidate, Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro, informing the police that the latter’s supporters hijacked three ballot boxes from two centres on Lagos Island.

During the alleged attempt to hijack the boxes, there was a free-for-all fight which led to several party supporters and the police being injured.

The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Adeniji Adele Central Police Station, Mr. Adesoi Oyeyipo, a Superintendent of Police (SP) was also reported injured during the fracas, just as one Balogun Akolede, who claimed to be a staff of the Lagos Island Local Council was arrested by the police for being in possession of a ballot box.

Adeniji-Adele specifically told the Lagos State Commissioner of Police team of observers that Obanikoro’s supporters hijacked the boxes.

However, the police directed him to make written statement at the Adeniji-Adele Police Station over the issue while efforts should be made to get to the root of the alleged claim.

But in a swift reaction, Obanikoro, who spoke to Daily Independent accused  Adeniji-Adele, Mrs. Remi Olajumoke and the police of collusion to remove the ballot boxes at some designated centres on the Island, particularly Ward C1 on Imaro Street.

“I would want the DPO to tell me where I took the so called boxes. I am told that Mrs. Olajumoke and Adeniji-Adele went to the place and created sme problems, but the agents who wanted to protect boxes resisted them.

“When I got to the place, the police, Adeniji-Adele and Olajumoke were carrying some boxes already. And I would want a clarification from the DPO because they went there at the instance of Adeniji-Adele and Olajumoke. It is a case of giving  dog a bad name to hang it.

“I am quite surprised that Adeniji-Adele could have said such a thing. If he did, I have lost total respect for him because I can never, in my life, envisage a situation where somebody of his calibre will fabricate such a lie against my person.

“I am a member of Ward C1 in Isale Eko while he is of the B1 in Isale Eko. The closest I could have gone is to walk through Igudugoro Road,” he said, adding that “for any person to say I was there is unfair and if I am confronted officially, I will respond.

Arabamen who described the exercise as “generally successful” said he was satisfied with the security situation.

Confirming the injury, which the DOP suffered, he said it was part of the hazards the police go through while discharging their duties.

On the number of persons so far arrested by the police, Arabamen said he was yet to receive the reports.

But it was learnt that  six persons were detained on Lagos Island, Ikorodu and Mushin respectively.



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