The blood letting that marred the local state assembly and governorship elections of Saturday April 14 in Nigeria became worse last Saturday April 21, 2007, during the Presidential and National Assembly elections. There were worse cases of violence due to civil disobedience and insurgencies across the most populous country in Africa and the world's eighth largest oil producer.
The Islamic militants the Nigerian Armed Forces claimed to have routed suddenly launched a surprise attack on another police post in Kano and killed 20 police officers before escaping with a police jeep and several ammunition.
Eyewitness accounts have shown that the "Taliban"Â militants launching deadly attacks on government forces are a well-trained Islamic militia, and included nursing mothers and child soldiers armed with AK 47 guns.
"What surprised me most when they came out was that among them were women carrying their babies on their back but armed with sophisticated weapons. And they were chanting war songs in their languages," said an eyewitness who saw the Islamic militants in Kano as they attacked another police post.
The Nigerian newspapers reported, "The militants had their wives, and children between the ages of 13-17 carrying sophisticated weapons, but added that they were rather friendly with some of the bold residents who could get close to them."Â
An eyewitness said the militant who shot and killed four mobile police officers was a child soldier armed with an AK 47. He killed them and set their patrol truck ablaze.
Then the militants told the civilians to get out of the line of fire as they clashed with the Nigerian soldiers.
There were simultaneous attacks on government targets in the Southern state of Bayelsa by the Niger Delta militants who have vowed to make the volatile region ungovernable for the regime of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of Nigeria.
The Niger Delta militants sent the following message:
"Today, Friday, 20th April, 2007, at exactly 6:00 p.m. Nigeria time, a combined forces, made up of our Freedom Fighters from all Ijaw territories in the failed Nigerian state attacked the Bayelsa State Government House AKA "Creek Heaven". "This operation is carried out to warn the Nigerian government of the ballot injustice inflicted on the Ijaw and the entire Niger -Delta by Obasanjo and his cronies, and also, to inform the International community, and the Ijaw nation."Â
"That on the 14th of April, 2007, the Obasanjo-led PDP government of Nigeria stole the votes of Ijaw in the Niger Delta by rigging the election in all Ijaw territories, from Bayelsa State, Delta State, Rivers State, Ondo State, Edo State, and Akwa Ibom State. No elections were held in any Ijaw territory. We hereby declare that no results so far declared in any Ijaw territory is accepted by Ijaw. "
"We reject all Governors, Deputy Governors and State House of Assembly members imposed on Ijaw. "By this act of attacking our one and only Ijaw state, we caution the Nigeria state and governors within the seven Ijaw states and territories that we will tirelessly defend and protect our rights, our votes, and our resources. If we can attack Bayelsa, we shall certainly attack anywhere no matter who is there or how much money is squandered. We are not criminals (as being recently described by our governors) but freedom fighters."Â
"This is just the beginning of the new stage of the Ijaw struggle. We have started our own house-cleansing, if Ijaw are to be free, we must destroy the Ijaw slave drivers. "If Nigeria wishes to remain as one Nigeria, we will never accept any person imposed on Ijaw in the Niger Delta. There will be no peace in the Niger-Delta until our demands are met."
Then, the Nigerian police had to shoot at a crowd of protesters in the Northern state of Nasarawa, after an Assistant Commissioner of Police, K K Bello, and eight other police officers were killed on the eve of the Presidential and National Assembly polls.
More irregularities and fraudulent practices were reported during the Presidential and National Assembly polls as voters narrated how the PDP's thugs snatched ballot boxes or used under age voters who also thumb-printed ballot papers and the security agents and electoral officials did not stop them. And many local government areas did not even receive voting materials and elections were postponed in some states. Endless complaints and violent protests have trailed the ill-fated April polls in Nigeria and observers have called for the cancellation of the unpopular elections.
Amnesty International reported that over 260 Nigerians died during the April polls and over 330 people sustained injuries.
The Nigerian government has accused the President of the Senate, Dr. Ken Nnamani of plotting a coup to sack President Olusegun Obasanjo and form an interim government to hold new polls.