Thugs suspected to be loyal to the All Progressive Congress (APC) opened fire during a local by-election in Ekiti on Saturday killing a female police officer and two other individuals.

The incident occurred at Ward 7 Polling Unit 7, Omuo-Ekiti during an exercise to elect a new House of Assembly member for Ekiti East Constituency 1.

Ekiti state police command which confirmed the incident, however, said six persons were injured.

Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Sunday Abutu in a statement said, “Today, some hoodlums attacked ward 7 unit 7 during the House of Assembly bye-election. In the process, six people were injured, among them were two policemen and one National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) member who are currently receiving treatment in Ikole General Hospital”.

Abutu said the State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has given a directive that all the suspects involved must be apprehended and brought to book.

But eyewitness confirmed that aside from the policewoman who was gunned down, others who were shot by the thugs were a 50-year old Bola Adebisi and 35-year old Tunde Ogunleye.

Reports say the situation created tension in the community, prompting people to scamper for safety.

Apart from the deceased police woman, two other police officers, an officer of the Federal Road Safety Commission, a Corps member and presiding officer, as well as one other, were reportedly also shot during the crisis and are now in critical conditions in the hospital.

The position became vacant following the death of an APC lawmaker in the State House of Assembly, Hon Juwa Adegbuyi.

The election had just started barely two hours when the violence erupted, which forced voters, INEC officials and security agents to stop the election abruptly as they had to scamper to safety to prevent being caught in the web of violence.

The Senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District, Mrs Biodun Olujimi, said she narrowly escaped being shot as political thugs invaded her polling unit at ward 7 unit 007 and the federal lawmaker had to be ferried out of the polling unit by party supporters.

Besides shootings and killings, there were also reported cases of ballot snatching in ward Ward 9 unit 008 in the constituency.

Relating her experience to newsmen, Mrs Biodun Olujimi, said the election started peacefully in her unit before some APC thugs and compromised police officers started disrupting the voting process.

“The leaders of APC came to the polling unit, in fact, we greeted warmly. After they left, some APC thugs who stayed behind pulled out guns and started shooting sporadically. This is the first time we would witness this. They picked the ballot box and ran away.

“A man died as he was trying to escape the scene. The policewoman guarding the ballot box was also shot in the head. The corps member and presiding officer at the unit were hit by bullets.

“In totality, eight people were shot. Some dead and five are battling with their lives in the hospital receiving treatments”, she lamented.

Olujimi accused the leaders of APC of being the masterminds of the horrendous attack, saying they mobilised people from all over the state for election taking place in just five wards.

A member of the House of Representatives and a native of the town, Hon. Femi Bamisile, described the shooting as appalling and unbelievable, saying no election worth the blood of any Nigerian.

“In any election where people are being lost, that is no longer democracy. APC was fully prepared for this election and canvassed for votes and we never wanted to kill anybody. I really don’t understand how it happened.

“I didn’t want to believe that it was our party. The election started peacefully what could have erupted shootings and killings?”, he asked.