The Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, has imposed a 24-hour curfew in Bakura and Talata Mafara local government areas after two persons were killed in violent clashes between party’s supporters ahead of a bye-election.
The police have also cancelled campaigns for the bye-election in Bakura Local Government Area following the violence that also left many injured.
The governor said the curfew was imposed to safeguard lives and properties, warning that the state government would not fold its arms and watch people engage in a breach of the public peace.
Mr Matawalle said some politicians had taken advantage of political rallies ahead of the bye-election in Bakura to foment trouble.
“I therefore use this medium to announce to the good people in Bakura and Talata Mafara local government areas to remain indoor for 24 hours to protect your lives and property, your dignity as well,” the governor said.
The Assistant Inspector-General of Police in Charge of Zone 10, Sokoto, Mustapha Muhammad, who was drafted for the election, confirmed that two persons were killed in the clash and the police banned the campaign to avoid further bloodshed.
Speaking with reporters at the Bakura police divisional office on Thursday, Mr Mustapha said there was tension in the area after the violence.
“In order to prevent further killings and the unwanted cause of other damages, we have immediately directed all the contending political parties to stop the ongoing campaigns,” Mr Mustapha said. “This should be respected for peace to reign.”
Also, the governor at a press briefing, confirmed that two persons were killed and six others were injured and responding to treatment in the hospital.
He said, “The APC members dismantled an already installed canopy meant to host PDP campaign rally which resulted in the clashes. The PDP was given approval for the venue three days earlier”.
“I am calling for the attention of the President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute a panel of investigation to unravel the truth of the situation leading to the chaos with a view to penalize the offenders,” the governor added.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had fixed Saturday for the bye-election a vacant seat in the state House of Assembly, with 14 parties contesting.
Witnesses told PREMIUM TIMES that supporters of the ruling PDP and the opposition APC clashed over the only public arena for political gatherings in the council headquarters in Bakura town.
Earlier, the PDP on Thursday accused the APC in the state of planning to disrupt the election.
The PDP Chairman in Zamfara, Shehu Danfulani, alleged that thugs loyal to APC carried guns to scare away PDP sympathisers in the area.
He said the suspected thugs shot and wounded two PDP supporters who attempted to stop them.
Mr Danfulani said the thugs also attacked security personnel sent to the area to ensure peace during the election.
The state’s APC chairman, Shehu Isa, could not be reached for comment as of the time of filing this report.
We’ll deploy 2,300 officers- Police
The state’s Commissioner of Police, Usman Nagogo, had appealed to the 14 political parties participating in the bye-election to control their supporters.
The police chief stated this during a town hall meeting Thursday last week organised by the security agencies.
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He said the police would be deploying 2,300 officers to cover election activities across the 104 wards of the constituency.
At the event, INEC, the security agencies and the 14 political parties signed agreements to ensure peaceful conduct of the bye-election
Speaking at the meeting, the state resident electoral commissioner, Amina Maikudi, urged voters to respect the Covid-19 protocols.
“All voters on the queue are expected to wear face masks, observe social distancing and use hand sanitizer to protect ourselves from contracting and spreading the Covid-19 virus,” Mrs Maikudi said.