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INEC suspends all bye-elections over #EndSARS protests

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended all the bye-elections in 11 states following #EndSARS protests across the country.

INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye, who made this known in a statement on Thursday, said the 15 bye-elections have been put on hold as a result of the current security situation in the country.

Bye-elections in six senatorial districts and nine state constituencies were scheduled to hold on October 31.

But protests against police brutality under the #EndSARS movement which subsequently turned violent resulting in several deaths across the country forced the commission to put the election on hold.

At least seven states including Lagos where the protest has been concentrated, have imposed a curfew to quell the violence.

Read #EndSARS Protests: Ogun Govt warns against looting and vandalism

Some of the states the elections were to hold, including those currently under curfew, include Bayelsa, Borno, Cross River, Lagos, Kogi, Zamfara and Plateau.

Okoye said the commission decided to postpone the bye-elections after meeting with all the resident electoral commissioners (RECs) to review the situation.

“This decision is in compliance with Section 26 (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), which gives the Commission the power to postpone an election if there is reason to believe that a serious breach of the peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on that date, or that it is impossible to conduct the elections as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies,” he said.

“The Commission will continue to monitor the situation in all the States and Constituencies, consult with relevant Stakeholders and meet again in two weeks to review the situation and decide on a feasible date for the elections.

“The Commission appeals for calm and understanding of the stakeholders and voters in the States where elections were scheduled. The safety of the voters, election officials and other stakeholders are paramount to the Commission in conducting elections.”

Okoye added that INEC is convinced that Nigeria will emerge from its current challenges stronger “while our electoral process will continue to improve”.

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