INEC suspends electoral processes in Rivers, says staff abducted

Prof Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman
Prof Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman
Prof Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman
Prof Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended the electoral processes in Rivers state following violence at multiple polling units during the governorship and State House of Assembly elections on Saturday.

In a statement by Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, the Commission has begun investigations into the happenings in Rivers.

“Based on reports from our officials in the field, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has determined that there has been widespread disruption of elections conducted on the 9th day of March 2019 in Rivers State,” Mr. Okoye said in the statement.

“These initial reports suggest that violence occurred in a substantial number of polling units and collation centres, staff have been taken hostage and materials including result sheets have either been seized or destroyed by unauthorized persons.

“In addition, safety of our staff appears to be in jeopardy all over the state and the Commission is concerned about the credibility of the process.

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“Consequently, a meeting held today 10th March 2019, the Commission has decided to suspend all electoral processes in the State until further notice. This is in line with Section 26 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and Clause 47 (e) of the Regulations and Guidelines of the Commission.

“The Commission has also established a Fact-Finding Committee to assess the situation and report back within 48 hours.

“We appeal to the people of Rivers State, particularly the voters, for their understanding as we look into the circumstances of these disruptions and what further action needs to be taken.