Rivers Rerun: INEC Receives Police Report, Vows To Deal With Indicted Officials

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has received the report of the Joint Police/DSS Special Investigation Panel on Rivers Re-Run elections of December 10, 2016.

The rerun election to elect state and federal lawmakers for Rivers was marred with violence include the death of at least two police officers.

An audio later emerged where the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, was heard admitting to bribing some INEC officials.

Mr. Wike and the Rivers State government boycotted the police investigations accusing the police of having a premeditated agenda.

Six police officers attached to the governor during the elections have since been dismissed by police authorities for alleged partisan roles; a move condemned by the Rivers governor.

An INEC National Commissioner, Solomon Soyebi, said on Thursday in Abuja at a press conference that “from the report, we gathered that the police have concluded their investigations and 25 INEC staff who were indicted will be prosecuted. The commission has resolved to co-operate with police in the process.

“In addition and without prejudice to their prosecution, the indicted INEC staff will also face the commission’s internal disciplinary process.

“The commission wishes to reiterate clearly that it will not shield staff that engages in any conduct that will undermine the integrity of the electoral process.”

Mr. Soyebi added that the commission had also considered the report of its Administrative Inquiry into the same election in which 28 staff were indicted of misconduct.

He explained that the commission accepted the report’s recommendations that all the 28 indicted staff should face internal disciplinary action for gross misconduct, dereliction of duty and negligence.

“The commission also accepted the recommendation to commend a number of ad hoc and permanent staff, as well as security officials who performed exceptionally well under very difficult circumstances of the elections,” he said.

Those to be commended were Ralph Echebiri and Oji Ekemankama, both professors at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, who served in Rivers West and East Senatorial Districts respectively.

He added that INEC would also offer automatic employment to two National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, members, Aguna Isaac and Ademola Oluwatoba, who served as Presiding Officers during the election.

He said that the decision was to reward them for their professional conduct during the election.
He noted that arising from the lessons learnt, the commission would carry out major overhaul of its entire Rivers office.

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