The victory celebrations by supporters of the president-elect, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), turned sour in many towns and cities in the northern part of the country, as the wild orgy of jubilation turned tragic, leading to the death of no fewer than 23 persons in Kano, Gombe and Niger States, just as many others sustained varying degrees of injuries.
THISDAY gathered that tragedy occurred simultaneously in different locations and local government areas of Kano State as soon as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the final result of the presidential election.
At Naibawa quarters in Kano metropolis, three persons lost their lives in an accident during the celebrations, while two young men also died at Gwarzo town in Gwarzo Local Government Area of the state.
It was further gathered that six people also died at Hotoro quarters during a head-on collision with their vehicles while celebrating Buhari’s victory on Tuesday night.
Also, two other persons lost their lives at Bachirawa quarters during the victory celebrations.
Confirming the incident to reporters yesterday, spokesman of the Kano State Police Command, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Musa Magaji Majia, said the command found seven unknown dead bodies.
“The state police discovered seven dead persons who we believe may have died during the victory celebrations. We have taken their corpses to the mortuary,” he said.
Majia added that the “state police commissioner has directed our personnel to check all the hospitals in the state with a view to identifying other people who lost their lives during this celebration period”.
Incidents of the tragic celebrations were also recorded in Gombe as no fewer than three persons also died in the wild merriment that greeted the declaration of Buhari as the winner of the March 28 presidential poll.
Two people died in a ghastly motor accident, which occurred at Billiri, headquarters of Billiri Local Government Area, supposedly a stronghold of the incumbent Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while another person died yesterday morning in Gombe, the state capital.
The situation in the Gombe metropolis did not come as a surprise, as it is a stronghold of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The town was just regaining its groove, having been shut down since election day due to fears of terrorist attack. However, the joy of Buhari’s victory united the people and wild celebrations followed.
Confirming the incident, spokesman for Gombe State Police Command, Fwaje Atajiri, said they had succeeded in dispersing the huge crowds of celebrants as their activities were beginning to assume a wild dimension.
He said they had also warned that the police would not spare anyone who takes the law into his/her hands as they are committed to sustaining the peace in the state.
He, however, said he was not aware of any death and had not been fully briefed on the situation, as operations were still in progress at the time of filing this report.
He advised members of the public to go about their normal activities without fear, as the command was on top of the situation, and called on them to be vigilant and report anything that amounted to compromising the peace or semblance so that the police could act promptly.
Tragedy also struck in Minna with the death of three supporters of the APC, just as many others sustained varying degrees of injuries as a result of the wild celebrations over Buhari’s victory.
The victims were said to have died in a fatal auto crash while jubilating wildly on the highways allegedly without respect for traffic rules.
An eyewitness said the driver of the vehicle was arrested while the vehicle was also impounded by the police almost immediately after the accident took place.
Others who sustained injuries in Minna were riding motorbikes and cars wildly when they sustained various degrees of injuries.
When contacted, the state Police Commissioner, Emmanuel Amore, confirmed the incident, adding that the driver of one of the vehicles has been arrested.
“In fact, upon interrogation by the police, the driver confessed to the crime but stated that he was driving on the road on the fateful Tuesday evening and was unaware that supporters of Buhari and their friends were on the road jubilating until he suddenly ran into them thereby killing them,” he said.
Amore said the suspect would be arraigned in court and charged for manslaughter and reckless driving at the end of investigations.
The police boss also assured Niger residents that the command would commence the enforcement of the state-wide curfew imposed by the state government on Tuesday, following the breach of the public peace by the alleged supporters of APC in parts of the state including Minna, the state capital.
He urged parents and guardians to keep their children and wards at home, warning that anyone who took the law into his/her hand under the disguise of celebrating the victory of the president-elect, would be made to face the wrath of the law.
Away from deaths, celebrations in Ado Ekiti, the capital of Ekiti State, were no less riotous, as no fewer than five vehicles belonging to members of the APC and an operative of the Department of State Service were destroyed yesterday by gun-wielding hoodlums, who attacked the party secretariat located in Ajilosun area of the state capital.
The hoodlums allegedly attacked the party’s secretariat shortly after APC members held a victory procession in Ado Ekiti to mark Buhari’s victory.
The party’s spokesman, Hon. Taiwo Olatunbosun, who spoke about the incident, accused Governor Ayodele Fayose and the police of complicity in the attack, saying that the party had earlier received information on the move by some top officials in Government House, Ado Ekiti, to prevent any celebration in the state.
He accused the governor of sending those he described as members of a killer gang after the party’s members with the intention of stopping the celebration of APC’s victory at the presidential poll.
But Fayose, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi, denied the allegation, saying: “We have been informed of allegations made by the APC that some people in a Hilux vehicle were sent by the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, to attack the APC members in the state.
“The APC, in their usual character, have piled up strategies and more than 20 lies of various degrees which they have planned to execute on a daily basis to cause commotion in the state if General Buhari wins the election.
“One of such lies is this allegation of attack which in actual sense they planned and executed by themselves to make it look as if they were attacked by outsiders.”
Adelusi said it sounded rather unfathomable that hoodlums could attack APC’s ecretariat even when the Divisional Police Officer of the Ologede Police Station in Ado Ekiti and some of his men were on guard to ensure that things didn’t snowball into violence during the procession.
However, the APC spokesman said the hoodlums brandished guns, cutlasses and axes, which forced party members and passers-by to flee in different directions, to prevent being caught in the attack.
He said those that perpetrated the nefarious act allegedly came in three Hilux vans with government house number plated, who after disembarking from the vehicles shot sporadically at the APC secretariat and destroyed part of the property.
“We had a few members left when they came because some of our teeming members who held a peaceful victory procession were already leaving before they came. They shot at our secretariat, pulled off our flags and destroyed five vehicles just because we were celebrating,” he said.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Taiwo Lakanu, who confirmed the attack said: “We received information that APC headquarters in Ado Ekiti was being attacked, and I deployed a team of police there led by Assistant Commissioner of Police. And they succeeded in flushing out the miscreants that came to carry out the act.
“We have information about those that came and we have arrested one of them and we are making efforts to ensure that we arrest others. Our timely arrival scared away the miscreants,”Lakanu said.