Violence forces INEC to postpone elections in Rivers LGAs



The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cancelled elections in Bonny and Akuku Toru local government areas (LGAs) of Rivers state following outbreak of violence.

Festus Okoye, INEC’s national commissioner for information and voter education, announced this at a press briefing in Abuja on Saturday.

Okoye said elections in the area would hold on a date yet to be chosen by the commission.

“We have received reports related to incidents in Akuku Toru and Bonny local government areas of Rivers state,” he said.

“So long as the commission could not deploy in these areas, the implication is that polls did not open in these areas and the commission will hold consultations with the relevant authorities and with the resident electoral commissioner in relation to these areas and will announce the dates when polls will take place in some of these areas, especially in relation to the areas that may be affected as it relates to the house of representatives elections and senatorial elections.

“We need to harvest where voting did not take place and we’re going to take a position as a commission. In Bonny, there was no election at all. The exercise there has been postponed. It will hold on another day. 

In a related incident, Edwin Enabor, INEC spokesperson in Rivers state,  said Okrika LGA was also marred by irregularities, as sensitive materials for a whole ward was diverted.

He said voting could not hold in the affected area and as such new dates would be announced for voters to cast their ballot.

“Voting did not hold in the affected registration area,” he said.

“The position of the commission is that election will be conducted separately for that registration area later.”

Reactions have trailed the violence that broke out in the state with many on Twitter saying that they are not surprised by the tension the elections generated.

“The violence in #Rivers is just too much. For an election without the APC on the ballot,” Odogwu Mobi, a Twitter user wrote.

Odogwu Mobi @mobiuwakwe

The violence in #Rivers is just too much. For an election without the APC on the ballot.

6:09 PM - Feb 23, 2019

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Sele Ijewere, another Twitter user, wrote: “As long as Lagos and Rivers state empower hooligans, there will always be election violence. This shit needs to stop. It’s not a do or die affair. The goal is a better life for the pple.”

Sele Ijewere@seleijewere

As long as Lagos and Rivers state empower hooligans, there will always be election violence. This shit needs to stop. It’s not a do or die affair. The goal is a better life for the pple.

10

6:25 PM - Feb 23, 2019

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Rivers recorded the highest incidents of violence across the country and the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been trading blames over this.

According to NAN, over 20 gunmen stormed  ward 2, unit 8 in Ubima, village of Rotimi Amaechi, minister of  transportation, in Ikwerre local government area of the state.

The gunmen invaded the unit with dangerous weapons, shooting sporadically, carting away ballot boxes, looting and robbing electoral officers.

Elections did not hold in Akukutoru local government area due to the massive shooting and general violence perpetrated by suspected

“Trouble started when the gunmen started heavy shooting in parts of Abonnema from Friday night. Before morning, it became obvious that both INEC ad-hoc personnel, intending voters and election materials were at risk,” Chris Finebone, spokesman of APC in the state, said in a statement.

“Reports monitored by APC Situation Room revealed that the shooting by PDP thugs moved to other parts of Abonnema making it impossible for any form of voting process to take place.”

Earlier in the day, Mowan Etete, a former council chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) was shot dead in Adoni LGA of the state.

Three other victims identified as Ignatuis, an ex-official member of APC in Rivers, as well as Etete’s cousin and sibling were also killed during the attack.

Nnamdi Omoni, Rivers state police commissioner, confirmed the killings to TheCable. 

Omoni said investigations were underway to bring the perpetrators to book.


TheCable

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