Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended all electoral processes in Rivers state after widespread disruption of elections conducted on 9th March, 2019 in the state.
Unconfirmed reports alleged that soldiers have taken over the collation centre in the state, ordering the staff of the commission to hand over the election results from the field to them.
A statement Sunday by INEC National Commissioner, and Chairman Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Festus Okoye, said that initial reports suggested that violence occurred in a substantial number of polling units and collation centre and staff had been taken hostage and materials including result sheets either seized or destroyed by unauthorized persons.
He added that that the safety of the staff of the Commission appears to be in jeopardy all over the state and the Commission was concerned about the credibility of the process.
Okoye stated, “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 9‘h day of March 2019 in Rivers State.
“Consequently, at 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,” he said.