- INEC not prepared -Wike
- Polls in 4 LGs suspended
- Soldiers defy court ruling connive with APC to rig – PDP
At least eight persons were feared killed, including a staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and an immigration officer, in separate violence in yesterday’s rerun State and National Assembly elections in River State.
The violence had erupted following protest by the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, that the INEC had allegedly distributed fake results sheets in some local government areas of the state, including Andoni, Bonny and Eleme.
At Asari, Toru and Akuku, local government areas, there were heavy shootings, including use of explosives as political chieftains struggled to hijack electoral materials and cowed their opponents.
An immigration officer was allegedly shot dead at Abalama community, ASALGA, after men dressed in military uniforms and in three Hilux vans, opened fired, shortly after some persons hijacked voting materials.
Also, one Tambari Ntonto was said to have been killed at Eleme community while casting his vote.
A security officer, who spoke in confidence to Nigerian Pilot Sunday, said some thugs dressed in Police uniforms were part of the shootings spree which took place in Buguma, Asari-Toru LGA.
Also in Eleme local government area, three other persons were allegedly killed, while one was killed in Nonwa, Tai LGA. One person was also shot dead at Ogboloko community in Abua/Odual LGA of the state.
Attempts by our correspondent to get the state police spokesman, Ahmad Mohammad, to comment on the matter were unsuccessful, even as voting was yet to commence in parts of Khana and Gokana local government areas, as at the time of going to press.
Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has declared that INEC was not prepared for the re-run elections in the State, noting that the challenges that greeted the elections would have been avoided if the commission had prepared for the re-run elections.
He regretted that some areas in the state did not have result sheets, which could lead to violence as the people suspect foul play.
Speaking after he voted at Ward 9 Unit 7 in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area on Saturday, Wike said information available to him indicated that INEC has failed to take necessary measures to ensure credible polls.
“It is obvious that INEC was not prepared for the re-run elections. They refused to tell members of the public the challenges they hard,” he said adding that there were cases of snatching of election materials in Ubima and Omagwa, noting that it was unfortunate that the challenges came up despite the time INEC had to prepare.
The accreditation process for the governor was cumbersome as two card readers were used severally before the governor was eventually passed to vote. However, his wife,Justice Suzzette Nyesom-Wike was accredited smoothly.
He gave pass mark to the security agencies for maintaining law and order in the state.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers state, Aniedi Ikoiwak has confirmed the cancellation of election in four local government areas.
While addressing newsmen at the INEC Secretariat, Ikoiwak said youths who were allegedly sponsored by some politicians refused to allow INEC officials move elections materials from the RAC centres.
He pointed out that there is also the problem of violence in the affected LGAs.
The REC, who debunked reports that fake election materials are in circulation as alleged by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said the commission is certain about the authenticity of materials deployed for the elections.
His words, “Actually we deployed our electoral materials since Thursday and today we have had the experience that most of our materials were not allowed to move from the RAC centres and even when we tried to deploy to the RACs, we were accosted.
“In the overall, we are hearing reports that elections held. We had a situation where elections were not allowed to hold in some places.
“We need to let you know that elections has been suspended in 4 local government areas of Andoni, Bonny, Khana and Gokana.”
Meanwhile, no date was given for the conduct of another election in the affected local councils.
Before now, the military had repelled attack launched by armed hoodlums at Abalama, Akuku Toru Local government area of Rivers state.
It was gathered that a man wearing Immigration uniform was hit during the shoot-out.
The Rivers state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike had earlier succeeded in casting his vote in the ongoing state and national assembly elections in the state. This was after the card reader had rejected him thrice. The Governor raised concerns about how the election is going.
Meanwhile, soldiers led by Magnus Abe to the INEC centres in Gokana and KHana Local Government Areas were alleged to have beaten the Commissioner for Environment, Professor Roseline Konya to a state of coma.
A release by the PDP state chairman, Felix Obuah, said Prof Konys was left unconscious and added that all PDP agents at INEC offices in Bori, Tai and Gokana were chased away.
Further, the party claimed that the Secretary to the State Government, Hon Kenneth Kobani, Special Adviser on Special projects to the State Governor, Hon Cyril Dum Wite and more than 2000 PDP across the State had been beaten, arrested and detained by the Nigerian Army, drafted to conduct the election by Mr Rotimi Amaechi, Magnus Abe and the APC.
It calls on “INEC to cancel Rivers re-run election in Tai, Oyigbo, Gokana, Khana and all other Local Government Areas of the State, where soldiers of the Nigerian Army connived with the APC to hijack electoral materials, kill, main, destroy properties, arrest and detain PDP members.”