The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has not extended the period of voting in 16 states.A statement stating that INEC has extended the voting period for the presidential and national assembly elections is presently circulating on WhatsApp.
According to the statement, INEC made the decision to extend the election to Sunday, February 26, due to violence experienced in some areas, and the late arrival of election materials in other locations.
The statement identified affected states as Lagos (Surulere, Ikate, Okota, Eti-Osa, Kosofe and Oshodi), FCT, Ebonyi, Rivers, Imo, Anambra, Kano and Edo.
Others are Delta, Kogi, Bayelsa, Enugu, Sokoto, Taraba, Abia, and, Ekiti.
“Voting in the affected areas will resume by 8 am till 12 pm on the 26th February 2023,” the statement reads.
“Therefore, it advised that staff and stakeholders continue to adhere to all Government/INEC directives and security advisories concerning this election.
“We would continue to monitor the situation and provide timely situation reports across the country.”
But when TheCable contacted Festus Okoye, INEC’s national commissioner and chairman of the information and voter education committee, he said the message is “fake”.
Also, Rotimi Oyekanmi, INEC spokesperson, in a post on Twitter, asked Nigerian to disregard the message.
“INEC did not extend the voting period in 16 States. The story below is fake and should be disregarded,” he said.
“An extension of time was granted to voters in areas where PUs did not open at 8.30 am. Voters on the queue before 2.30 pm are then allowed beyond the 2.30 pm stoppage time.”
While INEC has debunked the news of extension in 16 states, it did earlier suspend elections in 141 polling units in Bayelsa state till Sunday morning.
Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, said the exercise was postponed in the affected polling units because the voting process was disrupted.