C’River North: INEC Officials Held Hostages In Ogoja Over Declaration Form

…Aged Women Threaten To Go Naked, Youths Threaten Arson On INEC Office

About seven officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, have been held hostage by Ogoja youths, who insisted that they must produce INEC Declaration Form, or be taught a lesson of their lives.

While the officials were held hostage by the youths, aged women on their part, have threatened to go nude unless the declaration form is issued to their son, Senator Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, the senator representing Cross River North senatorial district at the National Assembly, who sought re-election in a fierce political contest which took place on Saturday, February 25, with the incubent governor of the state Prof. Ben Ayade.

On the one hand, the aged women threatened to dance naked through the streets of the town should Jarigbe’s mandate be toyed with, calling on the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mammod Yakubu, to rise up to the occasion and release INEC declaration form to their son, Jarigbe.

They also threatened to raze INEC secretariat if something was not urgently done to handle the situation.

Jarigbe, the incubent senator representing Cross River North senatorial district at the upper chamber of the National Assembly, was on Monday morning declared winner of Saturday’s poll.

Jarigbe was declared winner against his political opponent and Ayade, but was not issued the declaration form.

The angry protesters charged Yakubu to expedite action and issue the declaration form to Senator Jarigbe.

The angry youths and women barricaded the INEC secretariat at Igoli Street, in Ogoja, calling for immediate issuance of the declaration form or the hostages be made to face the consequences.

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Spokesperson for the aged woman, Mrs Alice Eban, said, “Why would he steal the declaration form and sell out to Jarigbe’s opponent. He goes no where until the declaration form is issued to Senator Jarigbe.

“You see that money that you collected to frustrate Jarigbe, you would vomit it. We would not fold our hands and watch you frustrate and rubbish Jarigbe, who is our back bone.”

One of the hostages held in connection with the missing form, Mr. Peter Kolo, averred that the form was forgotten at INEC state headquarters Calabar.

In his reaction to the issue, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Prof. Gabriel Yomere, said, “We mistakenly took the declaration form meant for North senatorial district to Ikom. And when we realised it, we retrieved the North back and the Adminstrative Secretary driver took it back to Obudu Electoral Officer, EO, for onward delivery.

“But shortly after, we got a call from EO that he couldnt couldn’t find the form any longer.

“So at the moment, I have informed the INEC national headquarters and they are bringing in another one to be handed over to the winner.

“The allegation that I must have traded off the Declaration Form is not true.”

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