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How Police Tear Gas Dakuku, Magnus Abe And Others Over Demand To Inspect Rivers State Electoral Materials

The protesters, who included the governorship candidate of the APC, as well as the candidates of the various Senatorial Districts and Federal Constituencies, arrived at the Head office of INEC as early as eight o’clock to demand the release of the materials used as had been directed by the election tribunal.

Pandemonium broke out at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) today in Abuja as top Rivers State All Progressives Congress (APC) politicians were tear gassed during a protest to demand the inspection of the electoral materials used in the state elections last April.                   
The protesters, who included the governorship candidate of the APC, as well as the candidates of the various Senatorial Districts and Federal Constituencies, arrived at the Head office of INEC as early as eight o’clock to demand the release of the materials used as had been directed by the election tribunal.                                     
The candidates maintained that they have written several letters to the Rivers Electoral Commission in connection with the issue, but that the commission had refused to yield to their request. 
"We the candidates of the All Progressives Congress Rivers State do state that sequel to the filing of our respective petitions, our lawyers proceeded to obtain from the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja orders for inspection of electoral materials by forensic experts,” they said. 
“Following the grant of order and were duly served on the Commission's Port Harcourt office. Despite the said service and repeated visits and correspondences to the Commission's but they failed and neglected. To allow the enforcement of the order of the Tribunal and no reason have been provided for the refusal of the commission to allow the inspection as ordered by the Tribunal."                            
The Chairman of the Party in River State, Ikanya Ibiamu led the candidates of the part said that the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides only 180 days within which an election petition shall be determined. 
"Our petitions were filed on 17th and 30th of April 2015 respectively,” he stressed. “From all indications the petitions are left with less than 3 months within which the Petitions are to be heard on their merit ". 
They expressed concern that the judgement would not be in their favour going by the way things were goingand the body language of the electoral body, which they complained, had shown total bias in the process that was capable of frustrating the cause of justice.
The protesters, who insisted on seeing the Acting National Chairman of the commission, Amina Zakari, were prevented from gaining entry into the premises of the commission as gun-toting policemen fired tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the angry protesters.           
But the protesters who remained undaunted returned after a while and vowed not to give in to the intimidation by the security agents. A copy of the petition jointly signed by the candidates was presented to the Director of Security, Shetimma Ngilari, who promised to deliver their message to the Acting Chairman.                                              
Among the protesters were: Dakuku Peterside, Senator Magnus Abe, Hon. Andrew Uchendu, OtelemabaGeorge, Igochukwu Aguma, Lucy Odili and Aye Pepple.