The Nigerian Army said it arrested no fewer than 24 suspects in connection with electoral offences during the Saturday Governorship and House Assembly elections in Imo, Abia and Cross River States.
Giving a breakdown of the suspects in a statement on Tuesday, Col. Sagir Musa, the army spokesman said 15 suspects were arrested in Abia State. Musa said of the 15 suspects, five were political thugs, arrested at Lokpanta while on their way to disrupt election at Lekwesi community.
The army spokesman said camouflage trousers, daggers and assorted charms were recovered from them. He said the other six suspects were arrested at Osisioma junction while they were conveying already thumb-printed ballot papers in a vehicle.
“On questioning, one of the suspects claimed the ballot papers were specimens for the campaign,’’ he said.
According to Musa, investigation is on to ascertain the culpability of the suspects. Still in Abia State, Musa said troops also rescued an INEC staff abducted by hoodlums at Ohafia Technical College in Anna village.
He said that four suspects were arrested in connection with the case while efforts were on to apprehend other fleeing members of the gang. Musa said that the four suspects had been handed over to the police for further action.
In Imo State, the army spokesman said four suspected fake soldiers in military uniform (woodland camouflage) were nabbed around Everyday Supermarket in Owerri. He said the suspects were “escorting a prominent female politician in a political party vehicle’’ at the time of arrest.
Musa said troops also intercepted and arrested suspected ballot box snatchers at Airforce junction near Ngor Okpala Local Government Area of Imo during the election. He said that on sighting the troops, the suspects abandoned their vehicle and ran into the bush.
“Items recovered include one Sienna bus, one pump action gun with 11 live cartridge, voter cards and assorted ATMs bearing different names.’’
Musa said in Cross River State, troops on patrol around power plant substation, Odukpani Local Government Area, rescued one Mr Authur Nkama, kidnapped at Ikot Ansa in Calabar Municipal Area Council.