Threats, Violence, Intimidation, Kidnapping, Ballot Snatching Force INEC To Declare Rivers Assembly Polls Inconclusive

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Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has
suspended all the election in all constituencies in Rivers State. In a
statement late yesterday, the commission said it ordered the suspension,
pending the receipt of a comprehensive report from its field officials and
monitors.
INEC had already cancelled election in eight local councils
in the state because of violence.
Clarifying it’s latest order, INEC said “the suspension does
not affect constituencies where the exercise has been completed and the results
declared by the returning officers”.

No result so far has been declared officially in the rerun
poll for state and national Assembly seats. But INEC said results are ready in
one Federal Constituency and 11 state assembly seats.
INEC’s Director in charge of Voter Education and Publicity,
Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi also elaborated on the suspension;
“Rather unfortunately, some of these elections witnessed the
disruption of the process, including the barricading of some of the INEC Local
Government offices and Registration Area Centres (RACs) used for the
distribution of Electoral materials which led to the late commencement of the
exercise in some places and consequently, its smooth take off.
“Of more serious concern was the level of threats, violence
and intimidation of election officials and voters by well-armed thugs and
miscreants allegedly acting on behalf of some politicians, which marred the
elections in some areas.
“There were reports of numerous attacks resulting in
fatalities, kidnappings, ballot snatching, diversion of officials and
materials, amongst others, which necessitated its suspension in eight Local Government
Areas.
“Regrettably, such deviant behaviour has continued today.
Several permanent and ad hoc staff engaged have been
attacked, again resulting in fatalities, while some have been forcibly abducted
and taken to presently unknown destinations”.
He stressed that under such difficult circumstance, the
Returning Officers were only able to collate and declare results in one Federal
and nine State constituencies where the disruption and malpractices were not so
widespread.

“For the avoidance of doubt, it should be noted that the
suspension does not affect the constituencies where the exercise has been
completed and the results declared by the Returning Officers”.

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