By Precious Akutamadu
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday said that more than 25 of its staff members were hospitalised due to Saturday’s supplementary election held in Etche, Rivers.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Elder Aniedi Ikoiwak, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt that the victims were attacked and wounded by Rivers people.
According to him, one of the victims regained consciousness on Sunday.
”This is one area that Nigerians should ask questions: over 25 INEC staff members are in hospital today because the people of Rivers State decided to either kill or wound them.
”They were all beaten up because they went to those villages to conduct an election.
”Let the people of Rivers State tell us the offence of any of them.
”What did they do? They were bringing materials for the election; they decided to descend on them, beat them up, collect their personal belongings and run away,” he said.
Ikoiwak noted that the victims were on official duties and needed a peaceful environment to achieve success.
He called on Nigerians to condemn the alleged attack.
“It is very sad. None of them was beaten up in his home but where they went to conduct an election.
”Why shouldn’t Nigerians discuss that? Why should people sent to conduct an election be beaten up and their belongings taken away from them?” he asked.
About 700 staff members of the commission were mobilised for the supplementary legislative election in Etche.
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) had withdrawn from assisting INEC in the election due to security issues.