……….. Petitions IGP Over Conduct Of Security Operatives
The Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) has directed supplementary election in wards and polling units where security and smart card reader hitches marred conduct of elections in last Saturday’s presidential and national elections.
The decision was part of resolution reached by the election umpire at Thursday’s postmortem on the election with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) from the states , in Abuja.
Details of where the supplementary election is to be held was not given it appears that polls will be held in Akoku/Toru and Bonny LGAs of Rivers where INEC could not deploy because of security as well in Imo North Senatorial District of Imo state where polls were declared inconclusive.
The supplementary elections are to held alongside the governorship and state assembly elections.
While the meeting acknowledged the late arrival of material in some areas during the concluded poll as well as professionalism displayed by security operatives in conducting materials and election personnel to duty areas, it however condemned in strong terms the alleged intimidation, harassment, abduction and actual raping of staff of the commission, during the concluded polls.
“The meeting acknowledged the delays in the commencement of elections In a number of polling units which necessitated the extension of the closing of polls in the affected areas. The Commission is determined to rectify the identified challenges before the elections on 9‘” March.
“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 lNEC 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 Saturday, 9m March 2019 alongside the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections. “The meeting also assessed the role of security agencies in the elections. While acknowledging their professionalism In the deployment of election personnel and materials in a safe and timely manner, the conduct of certain members of the security agencies in some states is a matter of serious concern to the Commission.
“This matter will be further discussed directly with the lnspector-General of Police within the ambit of the lnter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in preparation for the Governorship, State Houses of Assembly and PCT Area Council elections.
*”Although the elections were generally peaceful, the meeting observed and decried the high level of violence in a few places, which regrettably led to fatalities in some States, In addition to the subjugation of some of our eiectorai officials to threats, harassment, intimidation, assault, abduction and even rape.
“The Commission condoles with the families of its ad-hoc staff who lost their lives while on this national assignment, as well as other Nigerians who died in the course of the elections. It also expresses its deep regrets to and sympathy for all victims of this mindless violence. We stand with them in these difficult times. “
It also directed the RECs to submit comprehensive reports of these incidents to the Commission for appropriate action. Meanwhile the meeting has expressed satisfaction with the level of preparedness and the deployments of sensitive and non-sensitive materials scheduled for delivery to the Registration Area Centres (RACS) on Friday, 8‘” March 2019 and noted that this was on course.INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education Festus Okoye Esq disclosed in a