Imo By-Election: Anxiety As REC Says 100 INEC Staff Abducted, Forced to Thumbprint

Imo By-Election: Anxiety As REC Says 100 INEC Staff Abducted, Forced to Thumbprint

  • The Imo by-election was said to have been fraught with violence, ballot snatching and intimidation of voters
  • Chukwuemeka Ezeonu, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), made the revelation on Sunday, February 27
  • According to him, no fewer than 100 ad-hoc staff of the INEC were abducted by some political thugs and taken to an unknown destination

Imo - Professor Chukwuemeka Ezeonu, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Imo state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), has made a stunning revelation on the conduct of the by-election for Ngor Okpala state constituency on Saturday, February 26.

Nigerian Tribune reports that while addressing the press on Sunday, February 27, said that hundreds of ad-hoc staff of the INEC in the by-election have been abducted, and taken to an unknown destination where they were forced to thumbprint on the ballot papers.

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REC says 100 INEC staff abducted, forced to thumbprint.
Imo state REC Cheukwuemeka Ezeonu says 100 INEC staff abducted, forced to thumbprint in the by-election.
Source: Original gathered that the REC warned that those ballot papers from the abducted INEC ad-hoc staff, would not be accepted by the NEC.

He said:

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“We have received the report of violence of election and disruption of polls on some polling units and attacks on our personnel.”

Security men trailing the abductors says REC

Ezeonu said that so far no casualty has been reported, adding that security men have been up and doing to rescue some of our staff trapped in the violence.

"We remain grateful to them and pray for them to succeed in the work they are doing. We have noticed with great worries an abduction of some of our Ad-hoc staff with the election materials towards the end of the polls.
"While the earlier violence started with the snatching of election materials it ended with the abduction of our staff, ballot papers and materials. Some of our abducted Adhoc staff were blindfolded and taken to an unknown destination where they were compelled to thump print the ballot papers.”

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The REC, however, reassured the general public that the results manufactured from unknown places will not be collected, adding that the number of votes cast must be tallied with the number of accredited voters.

Reacting to the incident, the national secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Samuel Anyanwu condemned the abduction of INEC staff and the stealing of sensitive materials.

Anyanwu described as despicable and fraudulent the hijacking of INEC sensitive materials by political thugs suspected to be loyal to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

He said:

“The stealing of the INEC materials came after the news had gone to the public that the PDP candidate was leading in virtually all the polling booths and electoral wards in Ngor Okpala LGA.”

He maintains that for the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Blyden Amajirionwu to be defeated in his own polling booth is a confirmation that the PDP candidate, Hon Jeff Nwachukwu was truly ahead of his closest challenger.

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Anyanwu, therefore, calls on the security agencies in the state to immediately apprehend those behind the stealing and hijack of the election materials, while appealing to PDP supporters to remain calm.

INEC announces new dates for 2023 general elections

Meanwhile, had previously reported that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced new dates for the 2023 elections.

It was reported that Professor Mahmood Yakubu, national chairman of the commission, made this known at a news conference in Abuja, the Federal capital.

He said presidential and national assembly elections will now hold on Saturday, February 25, 2023, while governorship and state houses of assembly elections will hold on March 11, 2023.


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