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Scattered incidents of violence at Nigerian voting stations

Empty polling station in Lagos after armed men fired shots   -  
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Ben Curtis/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved


There was chaos at one polling booth in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, on Saturday afternoon as shots were fired in the air.

People screamed and scattered, searching for cover, as armed men jumped out of a minibus and grabbed ballot boxes.

The incident left ballot papers strewn across the road and voters angry.

“We were about to vote when we saw them. They came out of a car and shot in the air and we all started running then some group of people fell,” said civil servant, Bayo Opadele.

He has he was one of the people who fell down and was injured in the stampede that followed.

“I’m really hurt to be honest, I'm so disappointed. None of us had any clue that something like this was going to happen. So now we can't even vote anymore. Very soon the police will come here now. The policeman that was here is nowhere to be found,” said Opadele.

Citizens had been queuing for many hours when the stampede broke out, to vote in what is expected to be Nigeria’s closest presidential poll in the country’s history.

“Can you see what is happening now? They want to make sure they suppress others from voting. This is unfair, this is madness, this is not civilisation. This is what they call criminality and corruption of the highest order,” said voter and Labour Party sector coordinator, Babatunde Deji Disu.

“When you have to disenfranchise mass majority of people from voting, this is not good. This shouldn't be accepted in any civilised society,” he said.

Counting is underway now in the election which was marked by scattered violent incidents like this one on Saturday.

However, analysts say that despite long delays and security issues at some voting stations, the disruptions have not been on the scale seen in previous polls.

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