Port Harcourt women groups on Thursday stormed the streets of the oil city in protest, making conflicting demands over the suspended governorship election in the state.
The All Female Initiative for Leadership and Empowerment (A-FILE) demanded for the removal of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Obog Effanga and the cancellation of the March 9 election.
The other group demanded that Effanga should be left alone, calling for the completion of the exercise.
Mrs Rita Amachere of A-FILE, said the group demanded for the sack of Effenga from Rivers for mishandling of the elections.
Amachere, who accused the REC of collecting bribe and attempting to subvert the will of Rivers women, stated that the women were therefore very angry and did not need Effanga in Rivers any longer.
A former Commissioner for Women Affairs, Joeba West, said the women were demanding for liberation, justice and security which desired to be expressed through the ballot during the governorship polls but was being threatened by the actions of INEC.
West said that what the women wanted was for INEC to stick to the seven LGAs’ results, cancellation of the already compromised results and conduct a fresh election across the affected LGAs.
Mr Edwin Enabor, the Head, Voter Education and Publicity of INEC, told the women that the commission was going to stick to the timeline for the conclusion of the elections, adding that the process would begin on Friday as already announced.
Enabor explained that the REC was not around but had been away at Abuja since after the election.
Similarly, the other group, dressed in white and lead by Mrs Ukel Oyaghiri, the State Commissioner for Women Affairs, marched from Boro Park to the state headquarters of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) at Forces Avenue and Moscow Road.
Oyaghiri, at the DSS and Police headquarters, said that Rivers women were worried that other states had concluded the electoral process, announced the winner while that of Rivers State was yet to be concluded.
“We cannot keep quiet as Rivers women. During the elections, some of us were beaten, brutalised and humiliated; we want the already collated results to be released and a winner announced.
“We are saying no more delays, we want our results to be declared. Rivers State is in a coma.
“We have come to tell the Commissioner of Police that the REC that they want to be removed should not be removed, we want the REC to remain and finish the collation and announcing of the result.
“We did elections and the results are with INEC and INEC should release the results because without the completion of collation and announcement of results, our votes will not count; release our results”. Oyaghiri said.
The Governorship and State House of Assembly elections were suspended on March 10 due to widespread of violence and irregularities. (NAN)