The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said more than 25 of its staff have been hospitalised, due to Saturday’s supplementary election held in Etche, Rivers State.
Resident Electoral Commissioner, Aniedi Ikoiwak, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt, the state capitral, yesterday, that the victims were attacked and wounded by Rivers people.
According to him, one of the victims regained consciousness on Sunday.
“This is one area that Nigerians should ask questions: over 25 INEC staff members are in hospital today because the people of Rivers State decided to either kill or wound them.
“They were all beaten up because they went to those villages to conduct an election. Let the people of Rivers State tell us the offence of any of them. What did they do? They were bringing materials for the election; they decided to descend on them, beat them up, collected their personal belongings and ran away,” he said. Ikoiwak noted that the victims were on official duty and needed a peaceful environment to achieve success. He called on Nigerians to condemn the alleged attack, saying: “It is sad. None of them was beaten up in his home but where they went to conduct an election.
“Why shouldn’t Nigerians discuss that? Why should people sent to conduct an election be beaten up and their belongings taken away from them?” he asked.
About 700 staff members of the commission were mobilised for the rerun election in Etche.
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) had earlier withdrawn from assisting INEC in the election due to “security issues.”