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Bye-election: INEC officials ‘abducted’ as hoodlums invade polling units in Imo

Bye-election: INEC officials ‘abducted’ as hoodlums invade polling units in Imo
February 26
22:09 2022

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says some of its ad hoc staff members have been abducted in Imo state.

Francis Ezeonu, INEC’s resident electoral commissioner (REC) in Imo, confirmed the development while giving an update on the Ngor-Okpala bye-election.

The bye-election for the Ngor Okpala state constituency seat in the Imo house of assembly was held on Saturday.

TheCable had reported in December 2021 that the seat of Tochi Okereke, lawmaker representing Ngor Okpala constituency, was declared vacant over allegations that he had been absent from house proceedings since 2020.

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Speaking on the bye-election, Ezeonu said violence was recorded in some polling units, which led to the abduction of some INEC officials, while elections materials were also carted away.

“I am relieved to inform you that as provided for in the INEC election guidelines, polls have closed for the Ngor Okpala state constituency election. We received the reports of violence and disruption of votes in some polling units and attack on our personnel,” he said.

“We have noticed with great worry the abduction by some unknown persons of some of our ad hoc staff, together with election materials, towards the end of polls.

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“So far, no casualty has been recorded and the security has been up and doing to rescue some of our staff who were trapped within the crisis areas. We remain grateful to them and pray that they sustain the tempo till the end of the day.

“While the trend earlier in the day was violence, disruption, and destruction, or carting away of INEC voting materials, towards the end of polls, it changed to the abduction of our personnel with our BVAS, ballot papers, and result sheets.

“Our situation room has similarly received several complaints alluding to the same reports from the general public.”

He, however, said the commission would not consider results that do not correspond with the votes by electorate accredited with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machine.

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“We wish to reassure the general public that the results manufactured from unknown places will not be collated. The number of votes cast must tally with the number of accredited voters, as shown by the BVAS, for such a result to be authenticated,” he added.

“Therefore, any person or persons involved in such act of falsification are advised that they are chasing the wind. Meanwhile, we must appeal that all persons holding our staff hostage do well to release them without harm.

“We appeal to the general public and security agencies to help ensure the seamless collation of results.”

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