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Election Postponement: Army, Police Cordon CBN, INEC office in Port Harcourt

* As Rivers government berates APC, INEC over postponement
* Army lash RVSG over accusation of compromise
* INEC hired bus drivers demand full payment despite postponement

By Egufe Yafugborhi

HOURS after Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, officially postponed Saturday’s elections, the commission’s office in Port Harcourt and that of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, remain cordoned by heavy joint military and police teams.

Army

Several team of hefty military personnel yesterday surrounded the premises and barred movement through the Port Harcourt office of the CBN where several sensitive elections materials were still stock while the INEC office remains no go area for unauthorised movement with Armoured Personnel Carriers and teeming military and police personnel warding off pedestrians.

Meanwhile bus drivers hired to transport electoral materials across the state have staged a protest in the Rivers capital, demanding that INEC pays them full pay for their services despite truncating the exercises midway.

Spokesperson for the ptotesting drivers, Precious Ken, noted that the postponement of the election was not their fault, and that they would not be doing any other job for the day except the one they were hired to do by INEC.

Respondent for INEC, Cletus Ibe, said there was no need for the drivers to express worry, assuring that the commission would ensure that the bus drivers get what is due them.

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Rivers PDP vents anger on APC, INEC

Rivers State People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Campaign Council yesterday alleged that INEC, but the postponement, has vindicated its earlier position that the electoral body was working with the All Progressives Congress, APC, to truncate democracy in the country.

Emma Okah, Rivers Information Commissioner, speaking ad Director of Information and Communications, Rivers PDP Campaign Council, said, “No matter how long INEC, APC ridicule Nigerians by postponing the elections, they must one day hold it and Nigerians will certainly vent their anger on them for the frustration and hardship they have brought upon the land.

“We are sad that even the INEC Chairman in his broadcast could not tender any apology to Nigerians for the huge embarrassment and loss which his incompetence has caused the nation by postponing the elections after the process had started.”

Army denies compromise on election conduct

In a related development, the 6 Division, Nigerian Army has denied allegations by the Rivers State Government through Okah, that its men and those of Special Anti-Robbery Squad were prevented from tampering with electoral materials at the CBN.

Col Aminu Iliyasu, Deputy Director Army Public Relations, 6 Division, Port Harcourt, said, “It is the most bazaar and slanderous Okah to accuse a thorough professional like Brig Gen Nasiru Najaja, Commander 6 Military Intelligence Brigade, to the effect that he was prevented access to the Port Harcourt CBN premises by some so called PDP members who stopped him from tampering with sensitive electoral materials.

“Okah further went ahead to brazenly accuse the institution of the 6 Division for planning to rig the election in favour of another political party. For the avoidance of doubt, as part of the NA’s constitutional responsibility of aiding civil authority and our mandate to safeguarding Key Points and Vulnerable Points of our dear nation, troops of 6 Division NA were accordingly deployed and further reinforced at various locations including the CBN Port Harcourt where INEC deposit sensitive materials before, during and after elections.

“Brig Gen Najaja as the coordinator of all deployments was at the CBN Port Harcourt and other locations to assess the level of troops deployment and alertness. This deployment must have thwarted Mr Okah’s sinister plans and that of his pay masters thereby making such frustrating statements.

“Division categorically demand an unreserved apology and withdrawal of the slanderous statement by Emma Okah against the NA and the person of Brig Gen Nasiru Najaja within 72 Hours of this publication failure of which will lead to institution of a legal proceedings.”
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