An incident of ballot box snatching incident was reported which nearly disrupted the peaceful voting process of Unit 11 at Tungbo Town in Sagbama Local Government Area of the State during the Presidential and National Assembly elections in Bayelsa state.
It took the swift intervention of some security agents who stoodby to defend the sanctity of the electoral process.
Investigations revealed that one Mr. Goodluck Ebomu, an APC State House of Assembly aspirant on the 23rd Feb, 2019 was alleged to have stormed the Unit 11 polling booth in company of about 30 of his supporters who threatened the people performing their civic right, and in the process snatched away 3 INEC ballot boxes.
It is said that this development did not go down well with some youths who immediately alerted the Police and pursed Mr. Goodluck Ebomu and his gang to his House where it was discovered that they were in the process of manipulating the election results in favour of the All Progress Congress (APC). But for the quick intervention of the youths who apprehended them and handed them over to the Police.
It was gathered that six suspects were arrested and are now in Police custody, while the kingpin Mr. Goodluck Ebomu escaped and is now at large. Items allegedly recovered from them include 3 INEC ballot boxes and a locally made revolver gun which was found in possession of one Mr. Bossmant Timinepere an ally of Mr. Goodluck Ebomu.
An insider said that it is hypothetical that Mr. Goodluck Ebomu alongside the six suspects in police custody may be prosecuted for various electoral offences, swaying that the outcome of the matter could serve as a deterrent to others. He advised players and other stakeholders to ensure that the electoral process is free, transparent, and credible devoid of violence.
The Amanabaowei of Tungbo retired commander Amos Poubinafagha and other elders of the community have condemned the act of election violence and brigandage by the suspects.
All efforts to reach the Bayelsa state imagemaker, Mr. Asinim Butswat proved abortive.
It could be recalled that the 2019 general elections in the country has come and gone nevertheless, it was not without its own fair share of challenges and issues faced by the electoral umpires (INEC) and the electorates in some States of the Federation.
Besides late arrivals some voting materials and the card readers functionality were also reported as some miscreants snatched ballot boxes during the election.
Section 129 (4) of the Nigeria electoral Act states says, “Any persons who snatches or destroys any election material commits an offence and is liable on conviction to 24 months imprisonment”.
The Act further states that anyone who directly or indirectly engages in electoral violence shall be liable to 3 years imprisonment or a fine of one million Naira.