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INEC, security forces to blame for violence
Rivers Rerun: Violence marred last Saturday's legislative rerun elections

The Rivers State legislative rerun elections held on Saturday were marred by irregularities, large scale violence, professional misconducts and open bias by security operatives and electoral personnel, a report released by an observer group, says.

The report, released by CLEEN Foundation, a civil society organization, on Sunday, fingered the Police, Army, SSS in multiple cases of violence and malpractices that characterised the exercise.

“The way and manner in which the election was conducted is a validation of the outcomes of the Security Threat Assessment report, and justifies the concerns of various stakeholders that the outcome of the election will not reflect the will of the people,” CLEEN said.

“There were serious cases of electoral violence orchestrated by the Police, Army and DSS in Ward 3 Bodo community in Gokana and Khana Local Government Area. This led to the shooting to death of Mr. Mbari John MeeBari.

“At Ward 12, Unit 5, Abonnema, Akuku Toru, Police shot sporadically to scarce away voters. At Sara 1, Sara 2 and Kalakama (Ward 12), Okirika LGA electoral materials were hijacked by the Army and officers of SARS at gunpoint, the report noted.

The group blamed the killing of a police officer, Alkali Mohammed, a deputy superintendent of police, and his orderly, on “unwarranted use of force and shooting”. Mr. Mohammed was beheaded in an ambush at Omoku, Ogba/Ndoni/Egbema LGA.

CLEEN lamented failure of the military and other security agencies to maintain neutrality towards the political parties.

“INEC, Police, Army and DSS provided overt and covert support for one of the political parties during the poll at Isiokpo INEC Collation Center,Ikwerre LGA, Ngo in Andoni LGA, Bonny LGA and Ahoada, INEC Staff and security agencies especially the army and police were observed openly aiding a political party.”

But both police and army insisted they did not favour any party. However residents many other and observer groups also accuse them of bias.

CLEEN said it observed late arrival of materials in some places, including “Ward 8, unit 14, Ubima, Ikwerre LGA; Ward 16, Nyokhana, Khana LGA, Ward 9, unit 3, Ogu Bolo LGA.

The group asked President Muhammadu Buhari, the Inspector General of Police and INEC to launch investigations into the conduct of military personnel and police officers deployed for the Rivers polls, and “bring those found guilty of professional misconduct to book.”

More than 24 hours after voting ended, results are yet to be declared in several constituencies amid claims of efforts by political actors to manipulate the outcomes.

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