“2023: We can’t bear further attacks on our facilities — INEC”
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, says continuous attacks on the facilities of the commission may render it unprepared for the 2023 general election.
Mr Yakubu spoke on Friday at an investigative hearing by an ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives investigating the attacks on the facilities of the commission.
He told the lawmakers that the commission cannot bear further attacks on its facilities ahead of the elections on 25 February and 11 March.
Attacks on INEC
There have been renewed attacks on INEC facilities in some parts of the country. In the past couple of months, the commission’s offices were attacked in Osun, Ogun, Ebonyi, Imo, and Anambra States.
In several instances, the facilities were burnt down by arsonists, while in some cases, personnel were attacked by armed men.
Last week, the lower chamber resolved to investigate attacks after a motion moved by Kunle Olanrewaju (APC, Ekiti). Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila consequently set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the attacks.
We must stop the attacks
In his presentation, Mr Yakubu said the commission has been able to replace damaged assets in the recent attacks, but that it cannot bear further attacks.
Mr Yakubu informed the lawmakers that the commission will use rented spaces as an alternative to the facilities burnt down by the attackers.
He, however, warned that there must be concerted efforts to stop the attacks which could overwhelm the commission if allowed to continue.
“Should such attacks continue at the pace at which they are happening at the moment, the Commission may find it increasingly difficult to recover in time for the election. If it is about stopping the attacks, yes we can recover, but if the attacks continue it would be very difficult for the commission to recover.
“That is why concerted efforts to stop these attacks have become imperative and we hope this public hearing would contribute to the required outcome,” he said.
On the PVC destroyed in the attacks, the INEC chairman said the commission will print new PVCs to ensure that no one is disenfranchised.
“Several materials lost would have to be replaced. In the recent attacks, some of the PVCs for instance were lost. But for the PVCs, we have instructed our state offices to send the Voter Identification Numbers of the PVCs lost so we can reprint them. We can from our database quickly regenerate and reprint the cards so that citizens are not disenfranchised,” he said.
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, who was represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Department of Operations, Dandaura Mustapha, blamed secessionists and failed politicians for the attacks.
He stated that the attacks in the South-east could be traced to the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Eastern Security Network, while the attacks in the South-west could be traced to the Yoruba Nation agitators.
Furthermore, Mr Baba said some politicians that lost out in the political game are willing to play spoilers by taking actions that could undermine the election.
“What we discovered is that—we all know in this country, it is a well-known fact that in the Southeast geo-political zone, we have issues of secessionists—the IPOB and ESN.
“In the South-west, we equally have the pro-Yoruba secessionists that are equally bent on seceding not allowing elections to take place in their areas, hence the attack on INEC in Osun and Ogun of recent.
“There is also an issue of failed and desperate politicians who are bent on stopping INEC from conducting this election.
“The failed politicians are those who could not come back through any political parties, and as far as they are concerned, let everything spoil, let everything scatter. They are using that opportunity to sponsor illiterate followers of the party and hoodlums to make sure that this general election does not hold and should not be successful,” said.
He said there is an ongoing dialogue between the police, politicians and the commission on ending the attacks.
INEC 2023: We can’t bear further attacks on our facilities
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