INEC expresses worries over violence in Kogi

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday decried the alarming rate of violence witnessed during the presidential and national assembly election in Kogi state.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state Professor James Apam, while speaking during a stakeholders meeting held in Lokoja, however, appealed to the people to allow peaceful conduct of Saturday House of Assembly election.

Apam expressed concern over the electoral violence which claimed three lives and disrupted elections in over 157 polling units in the senatorial district with 89 units in Dekina/Bassa Federal Constituency alone.

According to him, a Hilux van loaded with electoral materials was burnt down by thugs in Dekina, while in Ogori-Magongo Local Government, eight polling units with card readers and other materials were destroyed.

The REC appealed to the electorates and all electoral stakeholders in the state to have a change of mind and avoid violence in next Saturday’s elections.

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Apam implored perpetrators of violence in the area to desist from encouraging youths and providing arms for electoral violence, saying that the nation was retrogressing rather than progressing in its development.

He, however, said the commission was ready for the election as the needed steps had been taken to ensure a hitch-free poll.

The REC assured against complaints of card readers malfunction, adding that card readers would be fully deployed and used in the Saturday Governorship/State Assembly elections throughout the country.

He pointed out that should the card reader be by-passed, compromised or not used for any reason at any polling unit, results from such unit would be cancelled.

Apam however, declared the readiness of the commission for the March 9, State Assembly and Dekina/Bassa supplementary elections in the state adding distribution and despatch of materials would commence on Thursday.

Stakeholders at the meeting expressed disappointment over alleged compromise on the part of some INEC Presiding Officers, the absence of (in some cases) and inadequate security officers.

Secretary of Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI), Alhaji Isah Adehioye in his contribution urged traditional and religious leaders to address the challenge of electoral violence and commended the Attah Igala, Dr Ameh-Oboni for placing ancestral curses on perpetrators of electoral violence in Kogi East.

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