The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Sunday, said some of its officials on election duty were held hostage in the Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The Commission is closely watching the situation in Brass LGA of Bayelsa State where our officials are held hostage,” the commission said in a statement on its verified X platform.

INEC condemned the action as “detrimental to credible elections” and called on security agencies including the police to swing to action and rescue the electoral officers.

“We call on the security agencies to immediately facilitate their release,” the commission said.

Channels Television had reported that protests rocked the oil-rich South-South state on Sunday over alleged manipulation of results as collation of results of the November 11, 2023 election commenced. The protesters including state commissioners and lawmakers said elections did not hold in the Nembe area of the state.

Earlier on Saturday, Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri, accused the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timipre Sylva, of being behind electoral violence recorded in the Nembe-Bassambiri area of the state.

Diri, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the poll, is seeking re-election for another four years in office.

“We have been raising the issue of the violent character and person of Timipre Sylva. Over the years, in every election he is involved in, you experience violence, you experience lawlessness, and even in Nembe-Bassambiri, the name and the character behind what is happening in Nembe-Bassambiri is Timipre Sylva,” Diri said.

Sylva was first Bayelsa governor from May 2007 to April 2008 and later between May 2008 and January 2012. He was also the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources from 2019 to 2023.