Facts emerged on Sunday on how uniformed and plain-clothes security operatives loyal to the former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, allegedly battered some ad-hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
A senior lecturer in the University of Uyo (name withheld), who is one of the collation officers in Essien Udim LGA, said he narrowly escaped being lynched when the senator and his loyalists forcefully took over the activities at the collation centre at about 10pm on Saturday.
He said they were in the process of verification and collation when Akpabio stormed the venue with several uniformed and plain-clothes men.
He said the embattled senator had initially tried to plead with the ad-hoc staff to suspend the use of card reader and just accept the results when one of his loyalists identified as Nse Ntuen (a member of House of Assembly) emerged from nowhere and started molesting all the INEC officials over their uncooperative attitude.
The lecturer said, “Suddenly, Nse Ntuen emerged and picked up a plastic chair, murmuring that the electoral officers were not cooperating with them. I escaped by God’s grace because he was about smashing my head with that chair, when he suddenly saw another fat man with a Peoples Democratic Party tag and he unleashed the chair on him mercilessly.
“Ntuen also beat up the corps members as everyone tried scampering for safety. In that confusion, I dragged the returning officer who is also my colleague in the university, and is hypertensive, and we were able to escape. I got to Uyo at about 2am.”
At Polling Unit 9 in Ukana West, Ward 2 located in the premises of Independent High School, Ukana, Essien Udim LGA, where Senator Akpabio voted, journalists were refused access to the school.
Reacting to the allegations, the Media Aide to Senator Akpabio, Anietie Ekong, said all the accusations were false.