Juliana Francis

A 41-year-old mother of three, identified as Elizabeth Arigo Owie, has died after being shot in the chest by suspected political thugs who invaded their polling unit on Saturday 25th of February in Ogheghe community in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area, Benin City.

The Executive Director of Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), Mr Okechukwu Nwanguma, in a Facebook post, said: “Elizabeth was hit by a bullet from shots fired by political thugs at Ogheghe community in Ikpoba Okha L.G.A, Benin City. Her brother-in-law who informed us about her killing is ‘still trying to get her polling unit name and code’. He reported that INEC officials and materials arrived late at her polling unit. She made a post about the election at about 7:28 pm while the counting was going on. Suddenly, some armed men drove in and came out of their car, and opened fire. She was hit on her chest and died instantly.”

The attack on the polling unit where Elizabeth was killed, happened moments after another woman, Efidi Bina Jennifer, was attacked and stabbed by political thugs at her polling unit while voting at a local government in Surulere Lagos.

Jennifer, who has become a symbol and representation of violent election and determination for a change of government, returned to cast her vote after receiving First Aid from a nearby clinic.

The presidential and senatorial elections in Lagos State were characterised by violence, with thugs attacking voters and forcing them to vote for a particular political party. The thugs were also said to have snatched ballot papers and boxes in some instances.

Elizabeth’s brother, Ejike Michael, who spoke with our reporter, revealed that reports from eyewitness accounts at the deceased’s polling unit maintained some people were shot and sustained injuries.

He said further information revealed that aside from Elizabeth, other two persons died from gunshot, while another victim is in hospital, battling to live.

His words: “She was shot at her polling unit last night. According to reports we got, INEC came to the polling unit late, at about 6:PM. They voted and soon officials started counting the votes. At a point, it became clear that Labour Party was leading and she, among others started rejoicing.

“Suddenly, some men drove into the place and opened fire. They shot at people and escaped. She was not the only person shot. We heard that about three people died, while another person is in the hospital.”

Asked if the shooting and death had been reported to the Police and if the police had made any arrest, Michael said: “It happened around 8:PM and her last post on Facebook was around 7:28,  while they were counting and she was jumping up. I’m in Lagos and we have been trying to reach her husband, to know how far. But he has been distraught! He has not been himself since the incident. It is family members that had been going to their house to assist with things.

“The children are just too young. They have three children, with the oldest being just seven years old.”

Michael said that he was shocked that such serious shootings and killings were not reported anywhere, especially by INEC officials.

He added: “They just want to sweep everything under the carpet. They are covering too many things. If it’s not planned work, will INEC waste time in reporting such an incident or coming to the polling units? How can INEC bring materials in the night? They’ll be given materials to head to polling units, but they’ll stop over somewhere, to frustrate voters into leaving their polling units in anger and frustration. That’s their game plan. I wished Elizabeth had left with other angry voters. What these guys do is have an informant at these polling units, who gives a signal immediately he or she noticed who is leading. At that particular polling unit, there was a massive crowd there. The place is Ogheghe community in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area, off Sapele Road.”

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