JOURNALISTS, who visited the Ughelli collation centre of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Delta State to monitor the collation of results from last Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections, were yesterday, stopped from gaining access into the premises.
Also banned from monitoring the exercise were domestic observers from various groups, such as the Transition Monitoring Group, TMG.
The ban is coming amidst security provided at all the entrances into the centre, made up of a special team of mobile policemen and soldiers, positioned at the three access points into the centre.
The three entrances from Post Office Road, Olotu Street and Oteri Road, were manned by stern looking security operatives, who only allowed INEC staff and security operatives into the area which also plays host to the Ughelli ‘A’ division police station and Ughelli Police Area Command headquarters.
The Electoral Officer, EO in charge of the center, Andrew Akhigbe, prevented journalists, including Vanguard reporter who got to the venue about 9a.m, from entering the centre.
Justifying his action, about 11a.m., the Electoral Officer said, “We are still collating results and can’t afford to allow you to be inside here for now.”
Condemning the ban, Executive Director of Value Rebirth Initiative, VREI, Pastor Edewor Egedegbe, described it as “undemocratic and an affront on the electoral exercise.”