27 September 2018

Nigeria: #OsunDecides2018 - INEC Disturbed By Actions of Security Agencies in Intimidation of Journalists, Observers

Photo: Premium Times
Voting taking place in Oshogbo - Osun State

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has distanced itself from the controversial conduct of security agencies in the ongoing re-run election in Osun State.

The electoral body said it has received reports of widespread intimidation from independent media practitioners and observers who were accredited to cover the election

"INEC is disturbed about reports that accredited media and observers are being arrested or prevented from operating in some polling units," the agency said on Twitter Thursday morning.

"This is being taken up with the security agencies," it added.

The spokespersons for the Nigerian Army and the police did not immediately return requests for comments about INEC's complaints Thursday morning.

The disclaimer comes as reports of brutal conduct of Nigerian police officers and soldiers inundate the social media from the communities that are participating in the re-run.

Complaints have also come in from residents in Orolu Local Government Area which has three out of the seven polling units where the rerun elections are holding.

In Orolu, observers and journalists were denied access to the polling units. When some eventually accessed the polling units, they were either temporarily arrested by police officers or manhandled by thugs.

Rukayat Ahmodu, an observer for CLEEN foundation said she was sent back by police and other security agencies from entering Orolu.

"We got there at 6:30am, they took us to the police station and later brought us to a junction. They said we are not allowed inside the centres," Ms Ahmodu said.

A PREMIUM TIMES journalist, Kemi Busari, who was an observer for the Centre for Democracy and Development was briefly detained by the police at a unit in Orolu, but later released; while Taiwo Adebulu of The Cable newspaers was manhandled by thugs who seized his phone and later returned it.

THUGS INVASION

Earlier, there was apprehension in Orolu over invasion by suspected thugs.

It was observed that electorates where afraid of going to the polling units as they were seen discussing in groups.

The actions of the thugs led to the initial cancellation of votes in the affected units in Orolu.

The snatching of ballot boxes by suspected thugs led to initial cancellation of Saturday's polls in units in Orolu.

Ward 9, Polling Unit 001, and with a total registered voters of 393, was cancelled after hoodlums snatched ballot boxes and ballot papers.

Also in the same ward, at Polling Unit 004, with a total of 387 registered voters, ballot boxes were snatched resulting in the cancellation.

In the results announced by INEC on Sunday for Orolu local government, the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Ademola Adeleke, polled majority votes of about 7776 while Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress secured 5442 votes.

One of Messrs Adeleke or Oyetola is expected to be declared winner after Thursday's supplementary election.

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