The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended elections in 141 polling units (PUs) in Bayelsa State over insecurity.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Saturday during the second situation briefing, at the national collation centre in Abuja.
According to him, the 141 PUs are in four wards of Yenagoa in Bayelsa State and the elections would hold on Sunday.
He said that the voting process was interrupted by thugs before security agencies were later reinforced, but that the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) members handling the affected PUs were afraid to resume the exercise, which led to the postponement.
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Yakubu also said that the process were also disrupted in some PUs in seven local government areas by insecurity and thuggery in Imo State.
Also affected were three local government areas in Edo State, where the elections were postponed to March 11 due to the omission of one of the political parties logo, available on the results sheet but not on the ballot paper.
The INEC Chairman equally said that more Bimodal Voter Authentication System (BVAS) were carted away by thugs.
“Unfortunately, we continue to lose some of the BVAS. I reported in the morning the loss of some devices. Unfortunately, we also lost three BVAS in Ayemelu in Anambra State but we have recovered.
“There were issues arising from the commencement process in Abia, Imo and in Kebbi among other places. I am happy to say that the process is ongoing in Abia.
“In Imo, the process is ongoing except a few areas of PUs marked by insecurity and thuggery spread across seven LGAs and the situation in Kebbi State is stable. Voting is going on mainly in Birin-Kebbi which was earlier affected.
“But in Bayelsa State particularly in the state capital, four wards, Ward 4, 6, 8, and 14 with 141 polling units, the process was disrupted. We remobilised security to proceed with the process but the corps members expressed some apprehension about going back so we met with the security agencies and decided that voting in these 141 PUs where all the materials are actually intact will take place tomorrow morning,” Yakubu said.
He said that there was an agreement to hold the elections in these locations on Sunday.
He said, “In Lagos, we have been closely following the situation in Okota, Mafoluku, Oshodi, and Elegushi. We have been able to normalize the situation in a number of places and voting is ongoing, so we will keep our eyes on the processes in the other areas that I had mentioned.
“In a large number of PUs, voting is closed and sorting and counting have commenced. Between now and the last briefing, we have taken a proactive step by meeting with the Inspector General of Police, the National Security Adviser, and the Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps. The idea is to strengthen security as we move into the next stage of the process, which is collation of results in locations where voting has been concluded at the polling units.
“I would also like to say that in Edo State, we had a situation that we handled yesterday (Friday), one of the parties whose logo is on the results sheet but is not on the ballot paper.
“In a meeting with the stakeholders, a decision was taken on the materials and the elections. So we have suspended the election for Esan North, South, and Iguebe.
“The ballot papers will be reprinted and the election will now hold along with the state elections on the 11th of March. That is in the next two weeks. We are determined that no Nigerian should be disenfranchised.
“So we have been responding to some of the situations as they arise. And we are going to do so overnight.”
Yakubu also said that the National Collation Centre will be officially opened mid-day on Sunday for announcement of collated results.