Soldiers, policemen clash over control of Rivers’ collation center

Soldiers and policemen are currently engaged in a heated argument at the head office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Rivers state.

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The argument broke out over who should be in charge of security at the office which is the state collation center where result of the governorship election will be announced.

The soldiers had ordered some policemen to leave the premises, and after a while the policemen reinforced, forcing their way in.

Earlier, armed soldiers manned the gate and a colonel who appeared to be their commander ordered the policemen to move away.

A policeman had returned to the gate but was refused entrance. He called on others, and while the argument started, the policemen forced the gate opened, pushing the soldiers away.

“We are equally here on duty,” one of the policemen who did not want to be named told TheCable.

“How will the army come and ask us not to do the job we’ve been deployed to do?”

Nnamdi Omoni, the police public relations officers in the state, did not answer calls placed to his phone over the issue.

Some INEC officials left the premises as a result of the clash between the security agencies.

“Since the army wants to take over, let them go and collate the results,” an angry official who didn’t want to be named told TheCable.

Out of 23 local government areas in the state, only the results of six had been brought in as of the time this report was filed.

The elections sparked tension among Rivers residents. Last week, soldiers raided clubs in Port Harcourt, arresting fun seekers.

On Wednesday, soldiers broke into the residence of Tamunosisi Gogo-Jaja, Rivers state commissioner of education, and arrested him alongside some of his family members.

Civil society groups and observers have condemned the involvement of the military in elections.

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