Saturday, 2 March 2019

Presidential Election:Some Of Our Officers Were Raped..INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has alleged that some of its officials were subjected to threats, harassment, intimidation, assault, abduction and even rape during the conduct of the February 23 Presidential and National Assemble elections. The electoral body, which was not specific on its claims, however, noted that such an untoward act was capable of derailing its activities in the conduct of the March 9 elections. INEC’s outcry followed its plans to conduct supplementary elections where National Assembly elections did not take place or where returns were not made. The supplementary elections, according to the commission, will be conducted simultaneously with the governorship and State Assembly elections on March 9.

This was one of the resolutions reached on Thursday at a meeting between the INEC management and Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) of 36 states of the country and Abuja. In a statement issued at the end of the meeting on Thursday, INEC observed a number of cancellations in certain areas due to violence, which, it added, prevented the commission from deploying personnel and materials for the elections.

The statement, which was signed by the National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, on Friday also observed that although the elections were generally peaceful, it decried the high level of violence in a few places, which regrettably led to fatalities in some states. The statement reads: “The meeting noted a number of cancellations in certain areas due to violence, which prevented the commission from deploying personnel and materials for the elections.

“In a number of locations, it could not conclude the elections due to disruptions and deliberate noncompliance with the use of the Smart Card Reader (SCR), contrary to the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections. “Consequently, the meeting decided that supplementary elections will be conducted in all areas where elections did not take place and/or where returns could not be made on Satutday, 9m March 2019 alongside the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.”

The meeting expressed concern at the conduct of security agencies in some states and promised to discuss directly with the Inspector-General of Police at the lnter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES). It directed Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to submit comprehensive reports of violent incidents to the commission for appropriate action. The meeting considered and received updates on preparations for the elections slated for March 9, and expressed satisfaction with the level of preparedness and the deployments of sensitive and non-sensitive materials, which would commence next Friday.

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