The Enugu state Police Command has dismissed the reports an election observer was shot dead on Saturday at the country home of the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Senator Ayogu Eze, during the gubernatorial and state assembly polls, disclosing that the victim was a supporter of the APC candidate.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Ebere Amarizu, who confirmed the death of the 30 – years – old man, whose name was given as Onuoha Sunday Odoh, said the command has commenced full scale investigation through its operatives into the alleged shooting and death of the deceased.
Daily Times correspondent gathered that the victim, who hails from Igogoro, in Igboeze North local Government Area of the state, is the younger brother to the APC House of Assembly candidate in Igboeze North Council Area of the state, Mr. Okwy Odoh.
“The victim is not an observer but a supporter to the candidate. The circumstance surrounding the incident is being investigated as the deceased body has been deposited at the mortuary,” the police spokesman said.
Our correspondent, who monitored the election in the locality, learnt that the deceased was allegedly killed by a stray bullet from a police man’s riffle who was trying to control a fracas that broke out between the overwhelming supporters of Senator Eze and some election observers who came to his residence at Umuida, his village.
Meanwhile, the observers have giving detailed accounts of their ordeal at the residence of Senator Eze. The observers say they had paid a visit to verify his alleged boycott of the election.
The observers, who introduced themselves as members of Global Policy Advocate and Leadership Initiative said they narrowly escaped death during the unfortunate attack on them, despite all the efforts they made to identify themselves before the angry supporters of Senator Eze, numbering over 700.
Speaking to journalists shortly after they were rescued by the police and brought to Enugu from Enugu-Ezike, where the ensuing fracas occurred, the group thanked God for sparing their lives.
Leader of the team, Amaka Offor, fainted few meters away from the police command headquarters, immediately they were granted bail.
Another team member, Mr. Frank Ohazulike, said but for the prompt response of security operatives, they would have either been lynched or burnt alive.
Ohazulike, who gave graphic details of the incident, further stated that it was cruel for anyone to have claimed that they were Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) thugs, reiterating that “we’re independent domestic observers, a team from Global Policy Advocate and Leadership Initiative.
“This is an organization accredited by the INEC. We’re the 50th group that was accredited to monitor this elections, hence we came down here to Enugu to monitor this process.
“We came here and in the process of going for electoral observation, our car broke down. We then looked for an alternative means to move around. Luckily for us, we approached a friend that works at the Government House and he obliged to give us a bus so we could use it to move around.
“At a point, we got a call that Senator Ayogu Eze, the APC guber candidate had allegedly boycotted the election. So, we decided to visit his home at Umuida in Enugu Ezike in order to get our facts and figures right so that we would be able to ascertain the correct information to give to the outside world when writing our report.
“When we got to Senator Ayogu Eze’s residence, we requested to see him. We also met some media people there while other observers were coming out from the place.
We requested to know if it was indeed, true as it was being alleged that he had threatened to boycott the exercise.
Some people alleged that it was because of the removal of his name from INEC list whereas others claimed that they knew that the PDP would compromise the processes. They told us that he was busy inside and would not come out.
“As we were driving out of his compound, one man accosted us and asked us where we were coming out from and our mission there. We explained to him and even showed him our identity cards.
The man got enraged and asked us why would you people come to this place in a vehicle with a government number plate? We explained that we had an issue on the road and we had to get an assistance in that emergency situation.
“We told him that we didn’t see that as a problem because even when the president visits non-PDP states, they give the entourage vehicles to move around. We explained to him that in the spirit of oneness, we can always get help to make sure that the electoral process is observed.
“Immediately, the man beckoned on all the thugs within the compound; they were more than 700 and they rushed to our vehicle, smashed the windscreens and other glasses in the vehicle.
“Before we knew it, they started beating us. We were beaten to stupor; they threatened to get the ladies with us naked. If not for the timely intervention of the police, the DSS and the army, it would have been a different thing.
They asked them to stop beating us because we’re observers, that we were merely doing our job. Some of the thugs threatened to burn us inside the vehicle. They collected all our phones, our gadgets, our reports and other personal effects.
“At that point, the police now started shooting their guns apparently to harass and/or disperse them. Some of them still remained adamant. One of them was busy struggling for the gun with one of the mobile policemen.
“In the process, we now suddenly saw somebody lying in the pool of his own blood,” Ohazulike added.
According to him, the shooting resulted in a lot of pandemonium, forcing Sen. Eze to intervene and restore peace, and thereafter, apologized for the harassment of the observes by his supporters.