A mild drama was witnessed at Ward 10, Unit 9, Ilupeju, in Ikere Ekiti on Saturday when some security operatives allegedly escaped with money collected from suspected party agents.
Residents of Ekiti State on Saturday (today) trooped out to fulfil their civic rights by voting for their preferred candidates in the 2022 gubernatorial election.
Among other chaotic events that reportedly happened during the exercise today was the alleged snatching of money meant for vote-buying by one of the participating political parties.
Reports had it that scores of angry electorates engaged security operatives to retrieve the money, and almost caused a stampede in the process.
A participant who spoke with newsmen on the incident at the polling unit said the security operatives overpowered the voters and succeeded in carting away the money.
The source according to PMNewsNigeria pleaded not to be mentioned in the print as he identified the security operatives as men of the Nigerian Security and Safety Defense Corps (NSCDC).
He said: “The money was supposed to be used to settle the voters, but the NSCDC men just went there and snatched the bag of money from them.
“Some of the people have voted and have not collected their money before they came to snatch the bag of money from us.
“Some of us challenged them and tried to collect the money back from them, but they overpowered us and ran away with the money,” the source added.
A party agent at the polling unit alleged that the Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Funminiyi Afuye was invited to resolve the issue and queried the presence of the lawmaker with his security operatives at the unit.
Afuye, however, denied knowledge of the money snatching, describing the event at the polling unit as a stampede.
“I’ve voted in my unit and I was just going round to see if there is one problem or the other, but there is no crisis, no violence. People can just stampede because they want to vote, instead of them to line up and spending less time, but they will crowd at a place, you know that is part of our culture. But, by and large, the people have been conducting themselves well,” he said.
Speaking further about the alleged snatching of money from suspected party agents, Afuye said nobody snatches money from his party people.
He said: “I am not aware of that, I wasn’t here then, and, if they are snatching money, they are not snatching from my party. There’s been no violence that has been reported to me.”
The Speaker however justified the presence of his security operatives at the polling unit. He added: “You want me to go about without my security agents? Are they harassing people? They are not. They are on their duty, just as you are on your duty as journalists.
“By my position as the chief lawmaker of the state, the moment I don’t go and tampered with whatever they are doing, I’m observing.
“The only time I went there is when they said they wanted to confirm the number of the machine, that’s all.”
When contacted about the event, the Spokesman for Ekiti NSCDC, Afolabi Tolulope, said he was not aware of such an incident, adding that he was not yet at the office to know if any NSCDC officials on patrol made a report about money at voting centres.