The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it would have to conduct fresh polls in all the areas where it suspended the electoral process in Rivers State due to the violence and criminality that characterised the elections in the state at the weekend, THISDAY has reported.
Resulting from the widespread violence and electoral irregularities, INEC also confirmed Monday [Mar 21] that one of its ad hoc staff, a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member, Mr. Samuel Dumebi Okonta, was killed during the exercise.
INEC’s announcement coincided with that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which said the conduct of INEC and security operatives of the federal government in Saturday’s elections in Rivers State fell short of expected standards, given the level of mobilisation and preparedness.
As APC and PDP continued the blame game over the violent rerun elections in the state, the management of NYSC yesterday announced the death of a corps member, Mr. Okonta Dumebi Samuel (RV/15B/5539), who died during the exercise in Rivers State at the weekend.
According to a statement from the NYSC, Okonta, who until his demise, served at GCSS Ukpeliede, was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Ahoada West Local Government Area. “The murder of this patriotic young man, who was an orphan, is primitive, barbaric and ungodly, and should be strongly condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians,” NYSC said.
NYSC also promised to ensure that Okonta’s killers do not go unpunished. “The NYSC shall work with the relevant agencies to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous act are fished out and made to face the full wrath of the law. “We consider Okonta Samuel’s death as a great loss, not only to his immediate family, but also to all of us in the NYSC family and the entire nation. May the Almighty God grant him eternal rest, and give his immediate family and the rest of us the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss,” it said.
The NYSC also confirmed that another corps member who was with the deceased at the time of the fatal attack in Ahoada, escaped from the scene with the help of security agents. “We also wish to state that another corps member – Anana Aniekan Udoetor (RV/15B/5537) – who was initially reported missing, was found hale and hearty,” NYSC stated.