INEC suspends electoral processes in Rivers
The Independent National Electoral Commission Sunday said it has suspended electoral processes in Rivers State due to “widespread disruption” of elections on Saturday.
“The initial reports suggest that violence occurred in a substantial number of polling units and collation centres,” INEC’s head of information and voter education committee Festus Okoye said.
“Staff have been taken hostage and materials including result sheets have either been seized or destroyed by unauthorised persons.”
The United Kingdom government said on Sunday it was concerned by the reports that military personnel interfered in the election in the state.
“Extremely concerned by reports, including from @UKinnigeria observers, of military interference in the election process in Rivers State,” it tweeted.
Okoye explained that INEC took the decision to suspend the election process in Rivers State after a meeting.
“Consequently, a meeting held today 10th March 2019, the commission has decided to suspend all electoral processes in the state until further notice.”
He, however, stated INEC’s decision “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.”
Okoye said the “Commission has also established a fact-finding committee to assess the situation and report back within 48hours.”
The INEC chairman appealed to the people of River State, particularly the voters to understand the commission’s decision, while it continues to look “forward into the circumstances of these disruptions and what further actions need to be taken.”