The Cross River State Police Command has arrested and paraded 16 individuals for their alleged involvement in political thuggery and violence, including ballot box snatching. According to the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Irene Ugbo, the suspects were apprehended by the military in Obudu LGA and handed over to the police.
SP Ugbo explained that the police had to arrest them and would charge them to court as a warning to others who might have nefarious intentions to cause havoc during the governorship and state House of Assembly elections scheduled for March 11th, 2023.
The police had previously released several press statements and warnings to the public, particularly parents, urging them to caution their children and wards against being used by desperate politicians during elections. However, the suspects allegedly refused to adhere to these warnings and chose to follow desperate politicians for little stipends.
SP Ugbo stated that the suspects would be charged to court to face the full wrath of the law and serve as examples to deter others with similar intentions. The suspects allegedly confessed to the crime of election violence, with some of them arrested while working with the Chairman of the opposition party in the state and a Senatorial candidate of the Party in the just concluded Senatorial elections.
During the arrest, one English pistol and five locally made guns were recovered as evidence to prove the suspects’ involvement in election violence, as they allegedly aided the disruption of elections and ballot box snatching in some parts of the state.
Some of the suspects denied being involved in any form of political violence or thuggery, while others claimed to be agents of the ruling Party in the state or members of the vigilante group. One of the suspects stated that he was a member of the APC and received over N500,000 to coordinate his polling unit during the elections but denied any involvement in election violence.