The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria’s electoral umpire, has suspended all elections in Rivers State, south-south Nigeria, “until further notice”.
The Commission made this known in a statement issued on Sunday afternoon by Festus Okoye, INEC Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee.
Okoye based the commission’s decision of “widespread disruption of elections” in the governorship and state house of assembly elections held on Saturday, March 9, 2019.
This online news platform understands that the development came following a meeting of the Commission which held on Sunday.
INEC took the decision in line with Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and Clause 47(e) of the Regulations and Guidelines of the Commission.
The statement reads: “Based on reports from our officials in the field, the Independent National Electoral Commission has determined that there has been widespread disruption of elections conducted on March 9, 2019, in Rivers State.
“These initial reports suggest that violence occurred in a substantial number of polling units and collation centres, staff have been taken hostage and materials including result sheets have either been seized or destroyed by unauthorized persons.
“In addition, safety of our staff appears to be in jeopardy all over the state and the commission is concerned about the credibility of the process.
“Consequently, at a meeting held today (Sunday) March 10 2019, the commission has decided to suspend all electoral processes in the state until further notice.
“This is in line with Section 26 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and Clause 47(e) of the regulations and guidelines of the commission.
“The commission has also established a fact-finding committee to assess the situation and report back within 48 hours.
“We appeal to the people of Rivers State, particularly the voters, for their understanding as we look into the circumstances of these disruptions and what further action needs to be taken,” the statement added.