Bayelsa youths foil attempt to steal DDC machines
The ongoing exercise turned violent yesterday in Odi, Kolokuma/ Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State when youths of the community foiled an attempt to steal a Direct Data Capture (DDC) machine of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The youths also prevented some strange faces from registering in the community.
Checks indicated that some youths suspected to be from the eastern states of Imo, Anambra and Enugu were conveyed to Odi in a 30-seater Coastal bus with a Bayelsa Government House registration number plate and were immediately moved to a registration point to register.
Eyewitness account said youths of the community who were uncomfortable with the strange faces confronted them to know their mission in Odi. The visitors were said to have taken offence over the barrage of questions and it led to hot exchange of words, which snow-balled into a free for all.
During the skirmish there was an attempt to steal the DDC machine but it was foiled and some of the youths escaped while seven of them were apprehended and the Coaster bus impounded with all the tyres deflated.
The seven suspects were moved to Odi Police Station but at about noon it was invaded by youths suspected to be ex-militants who overpowered the four policemen on guard and free the seven suspects in their custody. The timely arrival of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of the local government simply identified as Ebami with a detachment of policemen after receiving a distress saved the day as the intruders took to their heels but the police were able to arrest one of them.
An elder in the community, Commodore Koku Immananagha (retd) said the community would want to get to the root of the incident. 'What we wanted to know is why these youths are sponsored into our community and allowed to register. They should tell the police who asked them to come here to register and deprive us of our voting rights.'
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr.Emokpae Eguavoen confirmed the incident but said it was minor disagreement that had been resolved among the affected parties.