The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers State, Mr. Aniedi Ikoiwak, has said that 25 employees of the Independent National Electoral Commission beaten by suspected political thugs during the supplementary election in Etche, Rivers State, on Saturday are still in the hospital.
Ikoiwak lamented that one of the employees, who was severely beaten, was still lying unconscious in a hospital.
The REC, who spoke with our correspondent in a telephone interview on Monday, said thugs invaded INEC’s office in Etche and attacked employees.
He stated that other INEC workers on election duty were beaten at various polling units in the area, adding that the workers also had their personal belongings stolen.
Ikoiwak said, “In all the things people have been talking, they never talked about the number of INEC’s members of staff that were beaten and are in the hospital. Over 25 INEC staff members are in the hospital.
“The INEC staff members were not beaten up in their homes; they were beaten up in polling units in the morning, some of them inside their offices. They were beaten up by political thugs, who destroyed (ballot) boxes.
He, however, dismissed the claim by a leader of one of the major political parties in the state that INEC officials succumbed to the pressure from the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to declare the result of an inconclusive election.
He said the results of the supplementary election were declared according to the dictates of the law, adding that the winners emerged based on simple majority votes.
He said, “Our declaration was based on the law and not by anybody’s influence. Is there any difference between what was collated in Etche and what was declared? There is no difference. All what the returning officer wanted was the relevant law, which was given to him by the legal officer.”