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We will not return to Rivers without security guarantee, INEC insists

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Friday, maintained it resolve not to return to Rivers State until security of voters and others involved in the electoral process is guaranteed.

The electoral, while announcing that it would conduct fresh elections in areas where voting was disrupted in the violence-marred Rivers States polls of March 19, however insisted that it would never return for the fresh polls until there is an assurance of security and safety.

According to INEC, it would not endanger the lives of its personnel, journalists and observers and others involved in the exercise.

“INEC will, at a date to be decided, conduct fresh elections starting with accreditation and voting in all Local Government Areas, Constituencies, Registration Areas and Polling Units where the exercise was disrupted before voting was concluded on Saturday 19th March, 2016”.

In a statement signed by its Director of Voters’ Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, INEC said this would only be after due consultation with parties involved, and subject to the advice of the security agencies and guarantees by the political parties, candidates and their supporters.

“While the Commission is committed to conducting free, fair and credible elections, it hereby reiterates its resolve not to return to Rivers State (or anywhere else where there was a breakdown of law and order in the cause of conducting elections) until there is a conducive atmosphere for the conduct of credible elections. As a responsible organization, it will not expose its stakeholders especially voters, its officials, observers, media personnel to any danger and even where dates have been fixed and published, it will not hesitate to again suspend the exercise where there is a clear danger or credible threat of a breakdown of law and order,” INEC said.

Against calls by the All Progressives Congress,  APC, to cancel the elections outrightly,  the electoral body said it would uphold results that were already collated.

“The Commission restates its earlier decision to uphold the declarations and returns made in the Federal and State Constituencies where the exercise had been concluded.

“Similarly, the Commission will conclude and make returns in constituencies where it is satisfied that voting and collation were done in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act and our Guidelines,” INEC said.

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