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Rivers Election Tribunal: Police Fire Teargas To Disperse Protesting APC Supporters

By ORIH CHIBUIKE, The Nigerian Voice, Abuja
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The Police on Wednesday fired teargas to disperse protesting members of the All Progressive Congress supporters at Headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Our Correspondent learnt that the protesters had stormed the electoral umpires' headquarters to voice their dissatisfaction with State Electoral Commissioners' conduct.

According to the protesters, Acting INEC Chairman should issue a written directive to the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers State to allow their experts carry out inspection of all electoral materials.

It will be recalled that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had at the General elections in floored its close rival the All Progressive Congress (APC) at both the presidential and governorship elections. Subsequently, the APC had gone to court challenging its defeat at the polls.

The electoral materials in question were required to enable them prosecute the said petitions.

The grouse of the protesters is that INEC in Port Harcourt had denied their experts access to the electoral materials, thereby hindering effective presentation of their petitions.

They said they were denied the opportunity to inspect all relevant documents and material evidence.

Information available to this newspaper showed that before filing their petitions, they had through their respective counsels applied to the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers State for the release of certified true copy of materials used in the conduct of the said elections to enable them prosecute their respective petitions.

"It is highly worrisome that the Independent National Electoral Commission which ought to assume the position of an unbiased umpire has now thrown caution to the wind and is now hobnobbing with the other respondents in the aforesaid petitions to frustrate the speedy and efficient determinations of the petitions.

"The foregoing collaboration and partnership between the Commission and other respondents to the petitions is confirmed by the Commission's refusal to allow our experts inspect electoral materials, refusal to produce properly certified true copies and the series of objections filed by counsel to the Commission challenging the tribunal's order for inspection of electoral materials," their spokes person said.