The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has condemned what it described as the role played by some soldiers and armed gangs in Rivers State which it said led to the disruption of the electoral process.
In a statement issued on Saturday, March 16, 2019 which was made available to The Trent, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the action was an attempt to subvert the will of the people.
According to the statement from INEC, this was part of the submissions made after the Commission set up a fact-finding committee to assess the situation in the state.
Following reports of widespread violence and other forms of intimidation in the state, collation of results and other activities for the governorship and state assembly elections were suspended on March 10.
INEC, however, said it already concluded results of the governorship election from 17 of the state’s 23 LGAs.
For the House of Assembly elections, returns had been made for 21 of 32 state seats in the exercise.
According to Okoye, the rest would now be concluded on a date to be announced on March 20.
See the statement below:
Soldiers Unprofessionally Interfered In Rivers State Elections – European Union Observers
The European Union Observation Mission to Nigeria says soldiers barred them from monitoring elections in Rivers State. The observers made the allegation in their preliminary report in Abuja on Monday, March 11, 2019.
Addressing journalists, the chief observer, Maria Arena, noted that they came to Nigeria on the invitation of INEC to monitor the elections and make recommendations.
Arena, who is a member of the EU Parliament, however, faulted the elections.
She said, “Observers, including EU observers, were denied access to collation centres in Rivers, apparently by military personnel. This lack of access for observers compromises transparency and trust in the process.
“In Rivers, INEC suspended until further notice the elections due to violence in polling units and collation centres, staff being taken hostage and election materials, including results sheets, seized or destroyed by unauthorised persons.
“There is no doubt that the electoral process there was severely compromised.”