‘30 missing officials found, safe’

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Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday said all its 30 election officials, who were declared missing on Saturday, have been found alive and safe.

INEC in a statement in Abuja, the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of INEC, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, explained that the officials had gone missing in the violence that followed the voting in some polling units in Olamaboro council area of the state.

According to him, the Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, had personally interacted with many of the affected officials after they resurfaced, adding that they all had been reunited with their various families.

Recall that news of missing INEC staff surfaced on Saturday evening amid reports of isolated violence in different parts of the state. It was not initially clear what really happened to the officials, although some news outlets had claimed they were kidnapped.

But the INEC statement reads: “We can now confirm that all the 30 ad-hoc staff engaged for the 2019 Kogi Governorship election and posted to Polling Units 002, 006 and 013 at Olamaboro III; and Polling Units 006, 012, 015, 016, 022 at Imani 1 all in Olamaboro Local Government Area have been accounted for.

“They are safe, sound and back in their respective homes. The Chairman of the Commission has personally spoken with some of them and they confirmed that they are hale and hearty.

“These election-day duty staff could not be accounted for initially following the violent attacks by some armed thugs at their respective duty posts after the close of polls. The Commission has established that none of them was either injured or killed. They were able to successfully conclude the result collation process before the commotion started.

”The collated election results at Local Government Level are now being announced at the State Collation Centre at the Commission’s State Office in Lokoja.”
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