• Thursday, December 07, 2023
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Boat carrying 12 INEC personnel capsizes in Bayelsa, SPO abducted

Boat capsizes, kills 26 in Sokoto

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has confirmed that a boat carrying election personnel to Registration Area-17 (Koluama) in Southem Ijaw LGA of Bayelsa State has capsized as it commenced the movement of Personnel and electoral materials to the Registration Area Centers (RACs).

This is even as the INEC affirmed that its SPO assigned to Registration Area-06 (Ossioma) in Sagbama LGA was abducted while waiting to board a boat at Amassoma Jetty, saying the security agencies have been notified.

In a statement by Wilfred Ifogah, Head of Voter Education & Publicity in the State said no life was lost as all the election personnel numbering 12 and the boat operator were rescued.

The statement said that the slcommission only lost result sheets, power banks and luggage containing personal effects of staff

It added that total number of registered voters in the affected Registration Areas is 5368 and the number of PVCs collected is 5311, assuring that INEC is making efforts to ensure the conduct of election in the affected area.

Also INEC has bemoans on a fake news story attributed to unknown “concerned workers” of the Commission that passwords for result upload have been withdrawn from LGA Supervisors for use by APO1s in Imo State, saying the story is untrue.

In a statement by the CPS, Rotimi said for avoidance of doubt, Presiding Officers (POs), and not APO1s, are responsible for result upload to the IReV.

“All the passwords have been securely released for use by designated officials in line with the Commission’s procedure.

“The public should expect more of such insinuations before, during and after the elections, and continue to discountance them” it said.

However, the House of Representatives on Friday called on the electorates in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States to come out en-masse and participate in the November 11, 2023 Governorship elections while tasked all the security agencies to be professional and non-partisan throughout in the discharge of their duties.

The House made the call in a press statement, jointly signed by Chairman, House Committee on Electoral Matters, Adebayo Balogun and Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs Akin Rotimi.

According House, elections represent an opportunity for citizens to express their preferred choice of leaders and entrust them with the mandate to lead.

It called on all eligible voters in the three affected states to take advantage of Saturday’s election to exercise their franchise and urge the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a free and fair election.

The House also challenged the Stakeholders in the electoral process including the political parties and their candidates to play by the rules of the exercise.

“The 10th Assembly, House of Representatives, is committed to strengthening our Electoral laws and ensuring enforcement, to deepen our electoral process and serve as a deterrent against electoral malpractices,” the statement read.

Read also: Imo Guber: 27 LGAs INEC offices recieve sensitive, non-sensitive materials

Similarly, in Yenego, Bayelsa State situation reports indicated that security operatives have mounted heavy security presence at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Head office in Yenegoa as the commission round off preparations for Saturday governorship election.

According to the report, armoured vehicles and security personnel, both armed and unarmed, were strategically positioned at the entrance of the office, in Yenegoa.

Security patrol vehicles were also seen on major streets within the state capital while deployment of ad hoc staff accompanied by security personnel, and vehicles on election duties was also ongoing at the time of visit to the office.

The security agencies include the Nigeria Army, Nigeria Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Corps and Fire Service.

In Kogi State, as 18 candidates are vying for governorship position, Hale Gabriel Lonpet, Resident Electoral Commissioner, (REC) said 1.883.160 Kogilites who collected their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) are expected to vote in the off-cycle Governorship elections in Kogi State as INEC opened all Registration Area Centers for the deployment of sensitive materials.

Read also: #OndoDecides2020: Ad-hoc staff, election materials rescued in capsized boat – INEC

Lonpet said all sensitive and non sensitive materials, especially the BVAS, have been distributed for the election.

The REC informed that extra Seven BVAS have been deployed to Ganaja primary with over 13,000 voters who refused to migrate to ensure that exercise is carried on time.

He reiterated that INEC is ready to deliver a fair and credible but cannot do it alone as such the cooperation of all stakeholders is important, especially security operatives.