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INEC suspends all electoral processes in Rivers

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has suspended all electoral processes regarding the re-run parliamentary elections in Rivers state.

INEC also said it is in receipt of the results of nine state constituencies and one federal constituency in which rerun elections were held over the weekend in the state.

Director of Voter Education Publicity of INEC, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, who made the disclosure, explained that the release of further results were suspended due to reports of violence, attacks and the deaths of INEC officials and adhoc personnel in the state.

He said all INEC personnel were relocated to Abuja yesterday due to the escalation of violence in Rivers State.

The official said INEC conducted the polls in Rivers State pursuant to the orders of the Court of Appeal, but “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 8 local government areas.

“Regrettably, such deviant behaviour has continued today (Sunday). Several permanent and ad hoc staff engaged by the commission have been attacked, again resulting in fatalities, while some have been forcibly abducted and taken to unknown destinations.

“Under such difficult circumstances, 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.

“Having reviewed the situation, the commission is compelled to suspend all further action concerning the exercise in all the other constituencies in the state pending the receipt of a comprehensive report from its field officials and monitors.

“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,” Osaze-Uzzi added.

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