Suspected political thugs with weapons allegedly recovered from them, during their arrest by troops of 8 Division, Nigerian Army, on Exercise EGWU EKE III, in conjunction with other security agencies along Illela-Danfulani-Gwadabawa road in Sokoto at the weekend

Suspected political thugs with weapons allegedly recovered from them, during their arrest by troops of 8 Division, Nigerian Army, on Exercise EGWU EKE III, in conjunction with other security agencies along Illela-Danfulani-Gwadabawa road in Sokoto at the weekend

Parts of Kogi, Delta, Oyo and Lagos states were rocked by political violence yesterday, leaving at least seven people dead and many others injured, Daily Trust reports.

In Sokoto State, the Nigerian Army yesterday paraded political thugs and the dangerous weapons allegedly recovered from them.

Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman said in a statement yesterday that the troops on Exercise Egwu Eke III, in conjunction with other security agencies, arrested the suspects during a joint stop and search patrol with other security agencies on Saturday along Illela-Danfulani-Gwadabawa road.

He said 16 persons believed to be political thugs were arrested with dangerous weapons including 27 axes and 16 customised sticks.Daily Trust reports that political violence is surging ahead of the February 16 presidential and National Assembly elections.

Last week, the National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Major General Mohammed Monguno, at a meeting with members of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) in Abuja, warned politicians against arming political thugs during the general elections.

Three killed in Warri

Reports say no fewer than three persons were feared dead while about 20 others sustained various degrees of injuries as rival gangs clashed in the Effurun area of Warri metropolis in Delta State.

Sources said the bloody violence erupted between political thugs loyal to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and those loyal to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Our correspondent gathered that trouble started around Dumure area of Effurun on Wednesday when sporadic gunshots were fired by unknown persons in the area.

The situation had become tensed on Friday when violence broke out between the warring sides, culminating in Sunday’s bloody clash.

According to a resident of Alaka Street of Effurun, one of the troubled areas, violent clashes had intermittently erupted around Jakpa Junction, Alaka area, Dumure, Orhumarho, Effurun Market and parts of PTI Road close to the Effurun Market.

Delta State Police Command spokesman, Mr Andrew Aniamaka (DSP), confirmed the development and said there had been unrest indeed, but could not confirm the casualty figures.

“The command has managed to bring the situation under control. The DPO Ebrumede, S.O.S Commander and other key operatives of the command had been on ground. Even the Area Commander is involved in the operation that has restored order in the area,” he said.

Two killed in Kogi

In Kogi State, two persons were reported killed and many others injured in an attack during a political rally in Dekina Local Government Area of the state.

Daily Trust gathered that the incident occurred on Saturday at Itama area of Dekina, when APC and PDP supporters clashed during the campaign of Benjamin Ikani a PDP House of Representatives candidate for Biraidu, Bassa and Dekina federal constituency,.

It was learnt that the thugs suspected to be loyal to the APC allegedly shot sporadically on the campaign team resorting in the death of two persons while others sustained various degrees of injuries.

When contacted, spokesman of the Kogi Police Command, DSP William Aya, promised to find out from the police division in the area and get back to our correspondent but never did up to the time of going to press.

Two killed in Oyo

Daily Trust learnt that two people also died in a bloody clash between suspected political hoodlums at an All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign rally in Igboora area of Oyo State.

The campaign train, led by Governor Abiola Ajimobi, had commenced peacefully with the governor presenting the APC governorship candidate for Oyo governorship election, Chief Adebayo Adelabu.

The APC and the PDP have accused each other of causing the mayhem in which an APC supporter was killed. Another resident said to be a younger brother to an APC leader in the community was also hit by a stray bullet and eventually gave up the ghost.

This came in about 48 hours after the convoy of the Oyo State gubernatorial candidate of the PDP, Seyi Makinde, was attacked in Ojoo area of the city which left many injured.

Oyo State Police Command spokesman, SP Adekunle Ajisebutu, could not be reached for comment.

“While still conducting the search, a prominent politician in the state and a serving Senator, came to the scene and ordered his mobile police escorts to release them. In the process, the Department of State Service operative was molested and his clothes torn. The patriotic and professional officer still held on to the seized weapons. Similarly, another prominent politician from Zamfara State had earlier tried to influence the investigation of arrested armed political thugs,” the statement said.

It added that since the operationalization of the exercise in January 2019, several armed thugs have been arrested with dangerous weapons across the various political parties. He said the suspects were documented and handed over to the police. He said the Nigerian Army has always been professional, impartial and apolitical and will continue to be so.