INEC counts losses in 41 attacks

May 27, 2021
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Some of burnt INEC vehicles

 
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated thatit has recorded a total of 41 incidents involving deliberate attacks on the commission’s facilities in the last 2 years.
Although the commission said it is still assessing its losses during recent attacks, it noted that “preliminary assessment so far indicates that the commission lost 1,105 ballot boxes, 694 voting cubicles, 429 electricity generating sets and 13 utility vehicles (Toyota Hilux).” 

INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu who stated this Thursday at an emergency meeting with the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, (ICCES) said nine of these incidents happened in 2019 and 21 cases in 2020.
According to Yakubu, “in the last 4 weeks, 11 offices of the commission were either set ablaze or vandalised” adding that “two of the incidents were caused by Boko Haram and bandit attacks while 10 resulted from thuggery during election and post-election violence.”
He noted that “29 out of the 41 attacks were unrelated to elections or electoral activities” stressing that “18 of the attacks occurred during the EndSARS protest in October last year while 11 were organised by unknown “gunmen” and “hoodlums.””

The INEC boss said by working together with security agencies, the commission would stem the tide of attacks and wanton destruction of critical electoral assets.
He acknowledged support to the commission from some of the communities across the country saying that among other things, “they have donated land to locate many of the commission’s facilities as well as provided voluntary assistance during electoral activities like registration of voters and even donated materials, such as chairs and shelter during elections.”
He further stated that some of the communities offered to rebuild INEC offices and to help protect them going forward. 
Also speaking, the National Security Adviser (NSA) Babagana Mungunu said elections and electoral processes have become a feature in Nigeria’s socio-political landscape.
He said these processes “are not only practical expression of the people’s will but also symbolic of the national mood since the dawn of this century.
“It is, therefore, important for us to sustain these processes which undoubtedly are not only international but morally accepted means of propelling ourselves into development in this century which is extremely turbulent and troubled.

He admitted that there were a lot of unwanted experiences which have affected electoral process, saying that there were “activities carried out by non state actors who are determined to scuttle these processes which is supposed to be clean, transparent, which is supposed to allow the people self determination.” 
The NSA stated that the essence of the gathering was “to look at means and ways of quickly stopping the rising spate of criminality, violence and destruction of  the national efforts. 
“The office of the National Security Adviser has remained, steadfast, resolute and unrelenting in supporting the activities of INEC as well as all agents of government who are compelled not only by statutory need to deal with sny person that will disrupt what was started in 1999. 
“We are at here to make sure that the people’s will, will be sustained regardless of what is happening, regardless of any individual inclination. 

“We are, of course, hampered by a lot of non state actors who are determined to dislodge these efforts but I’m hopeful that the outcome of this meeting will be very very productive, we should be able to make some strides towards extinguishing whatever places that are already hollow in our socio-political landscape.”
“Again, I want to encourage my colleagues in the intelligence community to please enhance the efforts of those operational elements that have been supporting our efforts.
The Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) Baba Alkali who described ICCES as a veritable tool in organising/policing elections said, “whatever kind of preparations INEC must have put in place without securing the process during, before and after will not make elections a good one, if at all it is possible.” 
“I sincerely pledge my commitment to collaborate with everyone that is here to lead in policing the election process that is going to come anytime from now. 
“I wish to sincerely submit that all my state Commissioners of Police should liaise with all the State Independent Electoral Commissioners to also replicate what is happening at the federal level so that it would be seamless from the federal level to the state level.”

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