The National and State legislative re-run elections in Rivers State spiraled out of security control at several hot spots yesterday, leaving at least seven people dead.
The deaths occurred at Abalama in Asari Toru Local Government Area,Eleme in Eleme LGA,Nonwa in Tai LGA and Ogboloko in Abua/Odual LGA.
The police said their records showed that only one person died at Eleme.
They confirmed 12 arrests as Governor Nyesom Wike leading the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi leading the All Progressives Congress (APC) were locked in a fierce battle for the political soul of the oil producing state.
As the tension boiled over, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) suspended elections in Bonny, Andoni, Gokana, and Khana, Tai and Eleme local government areas.
The identities of the victims could not be immediately verified although sources said that a man killed in Abalama was an immigration officer serving in the state.
He was allegedly killed by unknown gunmen.
Four people were killed at Eleme and one each in Tai and Ogboloko.
Security operatives arrested eight persons in Khana LGA of the state for alleged electoral violence and for parading themselves as policemen.
One of the suspects was alleged to be an aide to a top functionary in the state hierarchy.
But the elections went on peacefully in other parts of the state.
Some voters opted to stay at home to avoid security screening by soldiers and policemen deployed to keep the peace during the elections.
The Public Relations Officer of the State Polce Command, DSP Ahmad Muhammad, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt that it received report about the death of one person in Eleme.
Muhammad said 10 people were arrested in Eleme while two were picked up on their way to Akinima, Ahoada West Local Government Area.
“The suspects committed election-related offences. They are being interrogated while investigation has commenced on the offences committed,” he said.
He also said the police did not know what caused the death of a middle-aged man in Eleme and that the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the area received the report.
He said the command did necessary deployments to ensure credible elections in the state.
INEC’s Deputy Director of Public Affairs, Nick Dazang, who confirmed the suspension of voting in six councils of the state said there was also high voters’ apathy in the areas because of the allegations of fake result sheets.
The PDP had alleged circulation of fake result sheets in Bonny, Andoni and Khana.
INEC dismissed the report as a lie.
Thugs allegedly snatched election materials around 2.30pm at three units in WIiyaakara Ward, Khana Local Government Area.
A 14-seater bus was burnt down in Alode, Eleme Local Government Area, and there were also reports of a shoot-out in Rumuekini, Obio Akpor Local Government Area.
The Army in the state paraded some fake soldiers arrested at Khana.