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The fact-finding committee set up by the Independent National Electoral Commission on the governorship and state House of Assembly elections in Rivers State is back and will submit its report soon.

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, who said this on Friday, explained that the Commission would study the report of the committee and decide on the next line of action.

Oyekanmi expressed this view following inquiries by journalists, but he did not give the date a final decision will be taken.

“The Rivers State fact-finding committee is back and will submit its report to the Commission, which will study it and decide on the next line of action.

“You will hear from us when the Commission takes a decision,”, he said.

Newsmen reported that INEC had suspended the governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers State till further notice, following widespread violence and threat against the lives of voters and ad-hoc staff of INEC.

The Commission premised its action on some factors, including the widespread disruption of elections and violence in polling units and collation centres.

INEC had set up a fact-finding committee to assess the situation and report back within 48 hours.

A statement by INEC National Commissioner and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, had said that while the Commission’s staff were taken hostage, sensitive electoral materials, including result sheets, were either seized or destroyed by unauthorised persons.

He had said, “Based on reports from our officials in the field, INEC has determined that there has been widespread disruption of elections conducted on March 9, 2019 in Rivers State.

“The initial reports suggest that violence occurred in a substantial number of polling units and collation centres, staff have been taken hostage and materials, including result sheets, have either been seized or destroyed by unauthorised persons.

“In addition, safety of our staff appeared to be in jeopardy all over the state and the Commission is concerned about the credibility of the process.

“Consequently, at a meeting held on Sunday, March 10, 2019, the Commission decided to suspend all electoral processes in the state until further notice.

“This is in line with Section 26 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and Clause 47(e) of the regulations and guidelines of the Commission.

“The Commission has also established a fact-finding committee to assess the situation and report back within 48 hours.

“We appeal to the people of Rivers State, particularly the voters, for their understanding, as we look into the circumstances of these disruptions and what further action needs to be taken.”

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