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INEC Speaks On Military Rigging Rivers Elections

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria’s electoral umpire, says the Nigerian military intervened in the March 9 governorship and house of assembly elections in Rivers state, southern Nigeria, but it could not say if the involvement was to rig.

Naija News reports that the electoral umpire suspended the electoral process in the state that same day citing widespread violence as its reason.

However, fielding questions on Channels TV on Monday, INEC’s director of information and voter education, Festus Okoye, said the commission went on a fact-finding mission to the state based on what it discovered.

His words: “The fact-finding mission that we sent to Rivers established the fact that the military intervened in some places,” he said.

“We saw them in INEC office and they agreed that they were at some collation centres on election day.

“We did not go out to establish the fact about who rigged elections or who did not rig. What we want to ensure is that we complete collation of results in Rivers.

“We made a determination that the army got involved in the electoral process but whether their involvement in the process was to rig the elections, I am not in a position to make a determination on that,” he added.

This online news platform reports that INEC’s statement is coming after the commission had said collation centres were invaded by some soldiers and armed gangs resulting in the intimidation and unlawful arrest of election officials.

This was even as soldiers and policemen clashed at the head office of the INEC in Rivers state.

It was learned that the argument broke out over who should be in charge of security at the office which served as the state collation centre.

Meanwhile, INEC says results of 17 LGAs are intact and that it would announce the next line of action on Wednesday.