Bloodletting: INEC Annuls Polls in Rivers
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cancelled elections in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State due to outbreak of violence.
The news came Aminu Iliyasu, a Colonel and Spokesman of Nigerian Army 6 Division, Port Harcourt, confirmed that soldiers were drafted to trouble spots in the state on Saturday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that two persons were feared dead at Ogu in Ogu-Bolo Local Government Area while shootings were heard in Abonema town in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of the state.
Iliyasu said, ‘’we are hearing that there are some skirmishes but we have not yet fully confirmed the situation. However, in order not to escalate the situation, our team has already been moved to the area to make sure that everything within the area is calm. We also did this to ensure that people go about and cast their votes without any form of molestation.’’
Continuing, Iliyasu claimed that the role of the army in the election was secondary and was only supporting the police and other security agencies, pointing out that the army would only act on the invitation of the police.
‘’So, if there is any emergency that would warrant our involvement, the police or any security agencies will alert the closest army team to calm fraying nerves’’, he added.
Meanwhile, INEC’s Spokesperson in Rivers, Edwin Enabor, said elections in Bonny will now hold on another date to be set by the commission. He said, ‘’in Bonny, there was no election at all. The exercise there has been postponed. It will hold on another day.’’
All Progressives Congress (APC) members allegedly stopped materials and personnel from leaving the INEC office there, claiming that the ballot papers deployed to the area were fake.
While a resident, Opuade Abbey, said the area had been taken over by armed security operatives including soldiers, the development in Bonny may affect the results of Rivers southeast senatorial district and Bonny/Degema Federal Constituency elections.
In Okrika Local Government Area, Enabor said, sensitive materials for one ward was diverted. According to him, ‘’voting did not hold in the affected registration area (ward). The position of the commission is that election will be conducted separately for that registration area later.’’