Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has confirmed the abduction of one of its officials.
Mr Wilfred Ifogah, Head of Voter Education and Publicity at INEC State Headquarters in Yenagoa in the South-South state of Bayelsa said that a Supervisory Presiding Officer (SPO) assigned to Registration Area – 06 (Ossioma) in Sagbama Local Government Area of the state was snatched away of Friday.
He said the unnamed official was abducted while waiting to board a boat to his area of assignment at Amassoma Jetty.
Ifogah also said that a boat carrying electoral personnel to Registration Area 17 (Koluama) in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, capsized, but the 12 personnel and the boat operator were rescued unhurt.
He said, “We, however, lost our result sheets, power banks, and luggage containing personal effects of staff.
“The total number of registered voters in the affected Registration Areas is 5,368 and the number of PVCs collected is 5,311. INEC is making efforts to ensure the conduct of elections in the affected area.
“The security agencies have been notified,” Ifogah stated.
Reports of abduction of INEC officials are not new in the country. Despite this, voters in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states are voting on Saturday (today) to elect their new governors.
In the three states, the electoral umpire, INEC said that over half a million voters collected their permanent voter cards to vote in the three states, this was despite cases of insecurity including abductions in some areas.
In Bayelsa State, the data on INEC’s website indicated that there are 1,056,862 registered voters, out of which 1,017,613 collected their PVCs, while 39,249 PVCs remained uncollected.
In Imo and Bayelsa states, sitting governors, Douye Diri and Hope Uzodimma, are seeking re-election, while 18 candidates are looking forward to succeeding incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello in Kogi State. The electoral umpire has assured that the abduction will not have any adverse significant impact on the election process.