Armed thugs invaded polling unit 003 in Bestford/Ganiyu Yusuff Street, Oke-Afa, Ejigbo, Lagos State as the governorship and state House of Assembly elections commenced nationwide. The thugs, who were wearing All Progressives Congress identity tags, attempted to cart away election materials and ballot boxes and in the process, damaged several thumb-printed papers. They also destroyed chairs and tables used by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission and attempted to seize the BVAS machine.
Although some of the thugs were overpowered by residents, the timely arrival of the Nigerian Army to the scene helped to save the day. The thugs were arrested and subsequently taken away by the Army in their patrol van.
Before the violence occurred, no police or security personnel were on the ground, despite the early arrival of INEC officials and ballot materials. Voting and accreditation commenced late and were further disrupted by the attack.
Despite the disruption, voters’ turnout was high, and residents were eager to exercise their civic responsibility. However, the possibility that many of them might not vote was high because INEC officials announced that voting at the polling unit would end by 2.30 pm, and the violence had caused further delays.
The Lagos State government had given assurances of peace throughout the voting exercise, but Oke-Afa experienced pockets of election-related violence. The incident highlights the need for more robust security measures to ensure the safety of voters and electoral officials during elections.