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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended the governorship and state houses of assembly elections in Rivers State over widespread violence in the state.

The National Commissioner and Chairman Voter Education Committee of INEC, Festus Okoye, announced the sudpension in a statement yesterday.

He said the commission decided to suspend the elections to ensure the safety of its staff.

He 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.

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

“In addition, safety of our staff appears to be in jeopardy all over the state and the Commission is concerned about the credibility of process. Consequently, at a meeting held today March 10, 2019, the Commission has decided to suspend all electoral processes in the State until further notice,” he said.

He said the decision is in line with Section 26 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended and Clause 47(5) 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 by the commission,” Okoye said.

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