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THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended Ekiti State by-election indefinitely, citing violence and killings that marred the polls.
INEC national commissioner in charge of information and voter education Festus Okoye said this in a statement on Saturday.
He said INEC received a report from the resident electoral commissioner (REC) for Ekiti State that the by-election was disrupted by violent attacks on voters, election officials and security personnel.
According to Okoye, the commission made adequate arrangements for the election, with personnel and materials arriving on time in all the 39 polling units spread across the five wards of the constituency for the 23,670 registered voters to exercise their franchise in a free and fair process.
“However, no sooner had voting commenced than unidentified gunmen unleashed mayhem at some polling units, thereby disrupting the process.
“Unfortunately, some innocent voters were shot dead, while a police officer, some INEC regular and ad hoc staff who sustained gunshot injuries during the melee are receiving medical attention.
“This situation is unacceptable. In its avowed commitment to electoral integrity, the commission has suspended the election indefinitely. To continue with the process will amount to rewarding bad behaviour. The security agencies are aware of this unfortunate situation and have commenced investigation,” Okoye said.
He also expressed the commission’s condolences with the innocent victims of the violence, which he said was an affront on the nation’s democracy.
Kayode Fayemi, state governor, has condemned the violence, calling on the police to fish out the perpetrators.
According to the police, at least two persons, including a policewoman, were killed as a result of the electoral violence that ensued in some of the polling units on Saturday.
The state police command said the violence had been perpertrated by suspected thugs in unit 7 ward 7 in Omuo-Ekiti while eligible voters were performing their constitutional duty.
The bye-election was to fill in the vacant seat of Juwa Adegbuyi, a member of the House of Representatives who died in February.