The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) today announced the suspension of the Port Harcourt 3 State Constituency bye-election in Rivers State, following widespread violence and deliberate disruption of the electoral process by hoodlums.
According to a statement by the Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Obo Effanga, the Commission in full readiness for the election had deployed personnel and materials to the 142 polling units involved.
The REC explained that the election commenced peacefully in all the units, with the Commission’s permanent and ad-hoc personnel reporting to their duty posts well ahead of time with the required materials.
“However, midway into the elections,” he continued, “miscreants and hoodlums accompanied by heavily armed security personnel in uniform, stormed the various polling units and Registration Areas, disrupting voting activities, destroying and carting away election materials, including smart card readers and ballot boxes. In addition, many election officials were manhandled, injured and held hostage.”
He continued: “As a result of this widespread and wanton disruption of the electoral process as reported from the field by the Supervisory Presiding Officers, Supervisors from the Commission and having reviewed the situation, the Commission, in accordance with the provisions of Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) has decided to suspend the elections forthwith.”