Rivers: INEC chides soldiers, to unveil date for completion of process Wednesday

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) has expressed its disaffection over the role played by soldiers and hoodlums in last weekend governorship and state assemblies election held in Rivers state.

The Commission had suspended the electoral process as a result of the arrest of its officials by hoodlums and some soldiers which disrupted the collation of results.

Tribune Online findings revealed that before the suspension of the process, the results of 17 out of 23 Local Governments in Rivers state were already in the custody of INEC.

The Declaration and Returns for 21 State Constituencies out of 32 were equally made by the Commission, prior to the suspension.

Unveiling the findings of its fact-finding committee in a statement issued on the eve of Saturday morning, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Voter’s Education and Publicity Committee, Barrister Festus Okoye pointed fingers of scorn at the infamous conduct of soldiers and said the Commission was determined to “engage the security agencies at national level and the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee at the State level to demand neutrality and professionalism of security personnel in order to secure a peaceful environment for the completion of the elections. ”

Okoye further disclosed that before revealing detailed timelines and activities for the completion of the election on Wednesday, March 20, it would also engage with key stakeholders in Rivers State with a view to ensuring a smooth and peaceful completion of the process.

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Okoye’s statement further read in part:” On the 10th of March 2019, the Commission suspended all electoral processes in Rivers State has determined that there was widespread disruption of collation of results of the elections conducted on the 9th day of March 2019.

“Subsequently, the Commission set up a Fact-Finding Committee to assess the situation and report back within 48 hours.

“The Commission met on the 15th day of March 2019 and considered the report of the Committee and established the following:

“That the Governorship and State Assembly elections took place in most of the polling units and results were announced.

“That the results from 17 Local Governments out of 23 are available and are in the Commission’s custody.

“That the Declaration and Returns for 21 State Constituencies out of 32 were made prior to the suspension.

“That collation centres were invaded by some soldiers and armed gangs resulting in the intimidation and unlawful arrest of election officials thereby disrupting the collation process.

” Consequent upon the foregoing, the Commission:

Expresses its displeasure with the role played by some soldiers and armed gangs in Rivers State disrupting the collation process and attempting to subvert the will of the people.

“Is committed to expeditious completion of the collation process where results of the elections have been announced.

“Will engage the security agencies at the national level and the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee at the State level to demand neutrality and professionalism of security personnel in order to secure a peaceful environment for the completion of the elections.

“Will also engage with key stakeholders in Rivers State with a view to ensuring a smooth and peaceful completion of the process.

“Will issue detailed timelines and activities for the completion of the election on Wednesday, March 20th, 2019.”

The post Rivers: INEC chides soldiers, to unveil date for completion of process Wednesday appeared first on Tribune Online.

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