Irate youths protesting the outcome of Wednesday’s local government election in Plateau State have burnt down four houses in Langtang South Local Government, the News Agency of Nigeria is reporting.
A NAN correspondent, who covered the Thursday protests, reports that the youths were angry that the results of the polls were not declared at the local government collation centre.
A top security personnel told NAN that the youths, who were waiting for the local government Returning Officer to collate results brought from the wards, got enraged when Governor Simon Lalong announced on Radio that the winners would be sworn in by 2pm.
“They were shocked when a candidate they claimed did not win the polls was announced as the winner,” the source said.
According to him, the protest began peacefully with the youths chanting war songs and accusing the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission of “cheating” as they marched through the streets.
The security personnel, who craved anonymity, told NAN: “But the protest turned violent when some youths decided to attack the houses of those they suspected had connived with PLASIEC officials to ‘steal’ their mandate.
“Within a very short while, three houses belonging to some prominent persons and an official of PLASIEC were burnt down by the irate youths.”
He identified houses burnt as belonging to Andrew Sambo, the Electoral Officer that conducted the election in the area, and one Jackson Ponzhi, a prominent politician.
Also burnt was the residence of Nicholas Vongsin, a former Chairman of Langtang South Management Committee, as well as the local government chamber, where results of the elections from the wards were to be collated and announced.
Speaking on the development, Domle Simon, Peoples Democratic Party Vice Chairman, Plateau South, blamed the state government for the destruction recorded in the area.
Simon said: “The governor should have allowed the electoral officers to collate the results. “The decision to swear in those that clearly lost the election was an invitation to chaos and anarchy.
“I am almost 70 years old and have been in this town all my life, but I have never seen anything like this.” Simon advised the state government to always be mindful of the effects of their actions on those they have sworn to lead, adding that leaders should always remember that they would give account of their actions in the hereafter.
Contacted, Terna Tyopev, spokesman of the Plateau State Police Command, said he had heard about the crisis in the area but has yet to receive details.
“I have not been briefed by the Divisional Police Officer in the area. If I get the details, I will call you,” Tyopev said.