A dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed Rivers State on Monday as tensions ran high over the presidential and National Assembly election, the state government.
While some female members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) organized a street protest demanding the cancellation of the election result, a counter protest was organized by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Commissioner for Information Ibim Semenitari said the lock-down, from 7:00 pm to 6:00 am was “to prevent the breakdown of law and order because of the tense political situation”.
The state government-backed APC alleged vote-rigging by the ruling PDP with the connivance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Some 2,000 female APC supporters attempted to register their complaints with electoral officials in the state capital, Port Harcourt, but were allegedly teargassed by police, according to the Agence France Presse (AFP).
Armed police and soldiers were said to have prevented the women, who were all dressed in black, from entering the offices, forcing them to disperse and reassemble at the government headquarters.
“What happened today was unprecedented,” said APC women leader Victoria Nyeche, adding: “The police teargassed and injured some of us during a peaceful protest at INEC. “All we want is a fresh election because what happened on Saturday was a fraud,” she added.
A South African non-governmental organisation, Pan African Women Projects, which observed the elections in the state, expressed anger at the teargassing of the protesters.
“We saw the women being teargassed and we don’t think it was a right thing to do because under the 1995 Beijing conference, women have the right to peaceful protests without any form of molestation or violence,” said Eno Ben-Udensi, from the group.
“We are going to write what happened in our final report on the conduct of the election.”