INEC suspends Rivers bye-election over violence

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended the bye-election for the Port Harcourt Constituency lll State Assembly seat held Aug. 18 in the State to fill the vacancy left by former state Assemblyman, Mr Victor Ihunwo, now Chairman, Port Harcourt City Local Government Area.
Mr Obo Effanga, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Rivers, who announced the suspension in a statement on Saturday night, cited widespread violence as reasons for the suspension.
Effanga stated that because the exercise was marred by widespread violence, it was suspended in accordance with Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010.
“INEC has decided to suspend the election forthwith,’’ he said
He did not give a new date for the by-election.
Effanga said the Commission in full readiness for the election had deployed personnel and materials to the 142 polling units involved.
“However, midway into the elections miscreants and hoodlums accompanied by heavily armed security personnel in uniform, stormed the various polling units and Registration Areas, disrupting voting activities, destroying and carting away election materials, including smart card readers and ballot boxes. In addition, many election officials were manhandled, injured and held hostage.”
“As a result of this widespread and wanton disruption of the electoral process as reported from the field by the Supervisory Presiding Officers, Supervisors from the Commission and having reviewed the situation, the Commission, in accordance with the provisions of Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) has decided to suspend the elections forthwith.”

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