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Report alleges disruption, manipulation, violence in Rivers re-run polls




A platform of civil society organisations, known as the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, has called on government to investigate reports on violence, intimidation and bribery in the Rivers polls re-run, noting that serious and credible allegations have been made against major political parties in the country.

It also called an investigation into reports of security services alleged to have interfered in the polls, killing of Police DSP Alkali and bring to account all persons responsible for his killing and other deaths that occurred during the December 10, 2106 legislative re-run elections in Rivers State.

The group, comprising 70 civic groups, which released their observation report for the polls revealed that direct intervention by security forces to truncate voting and unit level collation was unprecedented and widely reported within the Rivers South Senatorial District, as observed and gathered.

While combined teams of police and military personnel were reported to have intervened to collect election materials and electoral officials from locations where either voting or unit level collations were ongoing, the group reported that the incidents in some cases appeared to have been staged to justify the interventions of the security personnel.

Incidents where the group gathered detailed accounts included in Bodo Ward 3 (St Pius School), where one voter was shot and killed, BDere Ward 4, and Bomu Ward 7, all in Gokana Local Council.

According to the report, each of the incidents detailed combined teams of police and military personnel operating independently of the security already put in place at the polling units. In Bodo Ward 3, for example, detailed allegations were made that the ward was violently disrupted by SARS personnel who shot in the air to disperse voters, observers, reporters and party agents.

Aside from the incidents directly observed, the group said they also received reports of allegations after the polls, which had suggested an even wider pattern of intervention in the polls.

Delays due to disruptions were also reported where polls were alleged to have been disrupted further by objections and blockages to distribution materials, were stated to have been reported at state and local government levels.

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