The IndependentNational Electoral commission (INEC) has explained that it suspended the electoral process because of the spiralling process there.
A statement by Mr. Festus Okoye, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee said the decision followed reports by its staff.
Earlier in an interview with ChannelsTV, the INEC’s Head of Voters’ Education and Publicity in Rivers State, Edwin Enaboh, lamented “Since yesterday after the election, we have been receiving reports of insecurity, molestation, harassment and assault of our staff and ad-hoc staff. Yesterday evening, we were unable to get any results, as I speak [today], it is about 1:00 pm and our office is still under siege by men in military uniforms, airforce, and police.
“They have taken over the INEC office, screening and clearing results before they enter the office to the extent that no collation can be done. We don’t understand who and where they were deployed from, we are not accusing Nigerian Army and airforce, we are only saying that if they are not from them, they should come and rectify the situation so that our officers can be allowed to do their duties”.
In his statement, Okoye said: “Based on reports from our officials in the field, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has determined that there has been widespread disruption of elections conducted on the 9th day of March 2019 in Rivers State.
“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.
“Consequently, at a meeting held today 10th March 2019, the Commission has decided to suspend all electoral processes in the State until further notice. This 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.
“The Commission has also 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”.