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INEC ad hoc staff protest in Delta

Polling in Warri South Local Government Area, Delta State, was held up for some time by some ad hoc staff of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) demanding payment of their allowance.

The staff, who staged the protest at about 8.10 a.m. at Ikengbua Primary School, Ajamimogha, a Registration Area Centre (RAC) in the area, claimed that they had not been paid the allowance for training they attended for the elections.

They insisted on collecting the money, which they said was N4, 500, before allowing polling to commence.

The Electoral Officer in charge of the area could not be reached as he did not take calls put to his telephone by a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent.

However, the intervention of some elderly voters, security agents, who joined INEC officials at the centre in appealing to the ad hoc workers, doused the tension.

Consequently, distribution of election materials from the centre to other polling units in the area began in earnest, leading to commencement of accreditation and voting.

As at about 8 a.m., an impressive number of the electorate had arrived at most polling units in the area, which also had the presence of security agents.

At Unit 2, Okumagba, in Ward 12, the All Progressive Congress (APC) agent, Mr Mamuwa Washington, said electoral materials arrived at about 7.30 a.m, adding that he and agents of other political parties inspected the materials.

”We have three units in Ward 12, Okumagba 2,” he said.

Electoral Assistant Officer (EAO) in the area, who simply identified herself as Mrs Okonji, said the last set of voting materials left INEC’s officer at 7.22 a.m.

However, at 8.25 a.m., materials had not arrived at GRA Ward 5, units 3 and 4 and at Nana College unit.

Some voters, who were waiting at the units, attributed the delay to earlier protest by INEC ad hoc staff at the Registration Centre at Ikengbuwa Primary School.

At Ugborikoko Ward 5, Unit 9, Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area, materials had not arrived as at 9.07 a.m.

And, at about 9.20 a.m., materials for Wards 5 and 6 in Uvwie were yet to leave the RAC centre at Ugborikoko Police Station.

The situation was the same at 9.30 a.m. in Ward 2, unit 12, where voters were waiting eagerly for the exercise to commence.

However, polling started at 9.35 a.m.in Ward 1, Unit 9, but one of the two Card Readers deployed to the unit was not functioning.

One of the ad hoc staff at the unit, who identified herself as Sophia Anthony, told NAN that they had reported the development to the INEC office in the local government area.