The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said it suspended the Saturday’s Port-Harcourt 3 State Constituency by-election in Rivers State because electoral officers were attacked.
According to a statement signed and issued by the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Obo Effanga, the suspension was on account of widespread disruption of the process by armed hoodlums who attacked electoral officials.
“The commission in full readiness for the said election deployed personnel and materials to the 142 polling units involved (in the by-election) and election commenced peacefully in all units. However, midway into the elections, miscreants and hoodlums accompanied by heavily armed security personnel in uniform stormed the various polling units and registration areas and disrupted the process,” the statement said.
According to INEC, the hoodlums also carted away election materials including smart card readers and ballot boxes.
‘’In addition, many electoral officials were manhandled, injured and held hostage’’, it added.
“As a result of this widespread and wanton disruption of the electoral process as reported from the field by Supervisory Presiding Officers and Supervisors from the Commission and also, having reviewed the situation, the Commission in accordance with the provisions of Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) suspended the elections forthwith,” the statement concluded.