Inconclusive legislative elections stalled again as INEC suspends polls in Rivers

OrderPaperToday – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended all electoral process in Rivers state.

The decision was made following the widespread disruptions that occurred during the governorship and state assembly polls that took place on the 9th March.

Equally affected is the supplementary national assembly elections which was shifted from February 23 to March 9 due to electoral violence.

The legislative constituencies affected include: Rivers East senatorial district, Rivers West senatorial district and Okrika/Ogu/Bolo federal Constituency.

Others are Ikwere/Emohua, Akuku-Tori/Asari-Toru, Degema/Bonny and Ahoada West/ Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni federal constituencies.

Meanwhile, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye in a statement on Sunday gave further reasons for the suspension.

He said: “These initial reports suggest that violence occurred in a substantial number of polling units and collation centres, staff have been taken hostage and materials including result sheets have either been seized or destroyed by unauthorized persons. In addition, safety of our staff appears to be in jeopardy all over the state and the Commission is concerned about the credibility of the process.”

According to the commission, it acted 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 also disclosed that the electoral body had 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 added.

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