EU Observers Claim Soldiers Stopped Them From Monitoring Elections In Rivers State
European Union, EU observers in carrying out their monitoring activities, claimed in their preliminary report in Abuja on Monday, that soldiers stopped them from monitoring Rivers election on Saturday.
Head of the European Union observers group Maria Arena, who is also a member of the EU Parliament, faulted the elections as she stated that soldiers stopped them monitoring Rivers elections, even when they came to Nigeria on the invitation of INEC to monitor and make recommendations.
“Observers, including EU observers, were denied access to collation centres in Rivers, apparently by military personnel.
This lack of access for observers compromises transparency and trust in the process.
“In Rivers, INEC suspended until further notice the elections due to violence in polling units and collation centres, staff being taken a hostage and election materials, including results sheets, seized or destroyed by unauthorised persons.“There is no doubt that the electoral process there was severely compromised” she said.
Arena further disclosed that the European Union deployed 73 observers following voting, counting and the collation of results in 22 states.
“Although election operations improved, the elections were also marked by an overall low turnout and violence, including against election officials and voters.
“However, at eight polling units observed, we saw indications of vote-buying. Eight cases of obvious underage voting were also observed.
Our observers saw that the counting of ballots transparent overall.“Positively, in almost all cases, party agents received copies of the result forms, although they were often not displayed.
The environment for these elections has been difficult, with cases of violence and intimidation, including attacks on election administration officials” she said.