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‘How military handled Rivers elections’

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Soldiers block with truck and armoured tank the road leading to the state headquarters of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on March 10, 2019. – Fears has gripped residents of oil-rich Port Harcourt city in Niger delta region as state headquarters of Independent National Electoral Commission has been condoned off by dozens of fierce looking soldiers, anti-riots policemen and other complementary security agents who are jointly patrolling the city ahead of the much awaited results of the just concluded governorship and state assembly elections. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Group apologises to army over INEC’s indictment

An amalgamation of civil society organisations (CSOs) in Rivers State has apologized to the Nigerian Army over its (the latter’s) indictment by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the March 9 gubernatorial polls.

The group argued that it was wrong for the electoral umpire to indict an agency it engaged on security. INEC fact-finding committee’s report on the election indicted the army whose officers were reported to have abandoned their legitimate assignment of protecting electoral premises to allegedly aid and abet the hijacking electoral materials and rigging the electoral process in favour of a particular candidate.

Led by Jackson Omenazu, the CSOs, under the aegis of International Society for Social Justice and Human Rights (ISSJHR), stated this during a solidarity walk to the army’s 6 Division Headquarters. Omenazu said: “We are here today to console, condole and commend the 6 Division, Nigerian Army for being professional in your conduct during the polls and for the loss of your officers.

“Without your presence, the election would have been characterized by killings, just like what we had in 2015 when the state was described as a theatre of war.

He claimed that INEC failed to acknowledge the reports given to it by the Army, adding: “We expected that the INEC would condole with the army for losing their officers who were on duty, but we only heard allegations that the army meddled into a democratic process. We saw the military escorting sensitive material and they did not divert it.”Col. AD Abubakar, who received the solidarity letter for the GOC, 6 Division, noted that the document would be forwarded to the appropriate authorities for action.



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