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CSOs, observers urge INEC to prosecute staff involved in election malpractice

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Coalition of Domestic Observers in Plateau have urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to prosecute any of its staff involved in electoral malpractice.

The leader of the groups, Godwin Okoko, told newsmen at a news conference in Jos on Wednesday, that some INEC staff allegedly compromised during the elections.

Okoko cited two cases where an electoral officer conveyed election materials from the Central Bank in Jos to a local government without security escort and a returning officer from Bokkos who absconded with election results.

According to him, INEC should also thoroughly verify the activities of its ad-hoc staff.

“We, the members of the above groups, agreed to come together to deepen and strengthen democratic practice in Nigeria through the strengthening of electoral structures and processes.

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“It has become imperative to address you today on the just-concluded elections held on March 9, in Plateau and other states of the Federation.

“The elections, you are aware, were to elect governors and members of the States House of Assembly.

“We observed the elections across the seventeen (17) local government councils in Plateau.

“Our members were stationed in more than 2, 500 polling units, in all Registration Area Centres (RACs), Local Government Area Results Collation Centres as well as State Collation Centre.

“We had 12 roving observers in the Northern Senatorial Zone of the state, 13 roving observers in Central Senatorial Zone and 15 roving observers in Southern Senatorial Zone of the state,” he said.

Okoko said that the groups observed the elections were generally peaceful and orderly, but that there was voter apathy in most polling units visited across the state.

He, however, commended INEC for early arrival of officials, sensitive and non sensitive materials and early set up of polling units and voting points.

“Smart card readers in almost 98 per cent of polling units visited were functional, compared to the challenges encountered in the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

“Adhoc staff acted more professional than in the Presidential and National Assembly elections.” (NAN)