The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cancelled elections in certain parts of Lagos, Rivers, Anambra, among others, owing to violence on voting day.

Pulse had reported thugs beating up voters and carting away ballot boxes in the Lagos area, and the shooting of four persons in Rivers, as the general elections in certain parts of the country devolved into theaters of war.

Ballot boxes and papers were also burnt to ashes in the Isolo, Okota area of Lagos and in Anambra. 

In Polling Unit 13 in Ikoyi, House of Representatives materials never arrived.

Certain areas in Nasarawa and Kaduna also witnessed skirmishes in non-indigent settlements.

Voting materials also noticeably turned up late in thousands of polling units across the country.

INEC has now announced that elections in Akuku Toru and Bonny local government areas of Rivers State; as well as some parts of Anambra and Lagos, would be conducted on a later date, as violence disrupted the voting process in these areas.

Katsina INEC starts distribution of sensitive election materials - REC (Punch)

“The commission has received reports of violence and ballot box snatching in some areas leading to the disruption of the process. We have asked the Resident Electoral Commissioners RECs and the Electoral Officials on ground to submit their firsthand reports in relation to some of these incidents”, says INEC Commissioner Festus Okoye.  

“We are still receiving reports relating to incidences in some states of the federation but we have received reports relating to incidences in Akuku Toru and Bonny local government areas of Rivers state.

"So long as the commission could not deploy in these areas, the implication is that voting did not take place in those areas and the commission will hold consultations with the relevant authorities and the Resident Electoral Commissioners RECs in relation to these areas and will announce the date when polls will take place in some of these areas, especially in relation to the areas as they affect the House of Representatives and Senatorial elections. 

“It is not only in Rivers that we had reports of burning of electoral materials. We have such reports from Anambra and Lagos states as well as some other places”, he added.

Prosecution for card reader defaulters

The INEC Commissioner also announced that members of its staff who ditched the smart card readers because of a malfunction, will be prosecuted.

According to INEC, where the card readers do not work up till 6pm on Election Day, the standard procedure is to shift the exercise to the next day. 

Okoye says no staff of the commission has discretionary powers on the use or otherwise of the card readers as its usage is not a subject of negotiation. 

“With regards to the challenges associated with Smart Card Readers in some polling units, most of these challenges were resolved and were resolved on time. However, it is to be noted that in the Regulations and the Guidelines issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission, it was made very clear that the use of the smart card readers is mandatory. 

Nollywood actress Omoni Oboli who served as INEC official accrediting voters (Pulse)

“Therefore, no staff of the Commission or any ad hoc staff of the Commission is permitted in whatever guise to deliberately refuse to use the smart card readers for the conduct of elections. According to the Guidelines and Regulations of the Commission, it is negligent conduct for any ad hoc staff to refuse to use the smart card readers for purposes of accreditation and any of them that refused to use the smart card readers or deliberately violated the use of the smart card readers will be subject to prosecution in accordance with the Guidelines and Regulations of the Commission and the Electoral Act”, he declared.

Nigerians trooped out on Saturday, February 23, 2019, to choose a president and parliamentary leaders in a 469-member national assembly.