On Saturday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) confirmed the kidnapping of 19 members of its ad hoc staff while they were on their way to conduct the House of Assembly election in Imo’s Ideato South Local Government Area.
Prof. Sylvia Agu, INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner for Imo, made the announcement on Saturday in Owerri.
It was gathered that they were, however, released following intervention by security agents but election materials including BVAS machines are still missing.
Agu said: “The attention of the commission has been drawn to a report from Ugbelle Registration Area (06) in Ideato South Local Government Area of Imo state where thugs carted away all electoral materials and took our staff hostage for some hours during the March 18 House of Assembly election.
“The security forces were informed and a rescue operation was mounted.
“Presently, all ad hoc staff on hostage have been rescued but no trace of the election materials.
“While the commission remains grateful to the security operatives, it condemns such acts of thuggery, intimidation and disenfranchisement of voters and urge the public to continue to have confidence in the electoral process,” Agu stated.
The REC said a full statement on the matter will be issued later.