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INEC Decries Attacks at Campaign Rallies in 21 States

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has reported recording 50 attacks during campaign rallies across 21 states, warning that the trend portends a serious threat to next year’s general elections. Expressing worries over the spate, the commission warned that if urgent and decisive steps are not taken, the attacks may intensify as the election date approaches.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, who raised the alarm in his remarks at an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election (ICCES) in Abuja on Friday, promised to reprint the 65,699 uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) burnt during the Ogun inferno.

He pleaded with the security agencies to take decisive steps to stem the ugly trend from escalating further. He added: “These unhappy occurrences are coming just a little over one month into the election campaign which is scheduled to last for about five months from September 28, 2022, to 23rd February 2023 for national elections (Presidential and National Assembly) and from October 12, 2022, to March 11, 2023, for state elections (governorship and Houses of Assembly).”

The Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) is a body that brings together security, safety and other agencies responsible for securing the process and ensuring peaceful elections in Nigeria. The INEC chairman appealed to it to swiftly apprehend perpetrators, prosecute them as required by law, and reinforce security around election officials and electoral infrastructure around the country.

He said: “The attempt to sabotage or weaken our resolve will not deter us from conducting transparent elections in which only the votes cast by Nigerians on Election Day will determine winners of elections.”

On the burnt PVCs in Edo South in Edo State and Abeokuta South in Ogun State, he promised to reprint and replace them. In Edo South where he said minimal destruction took place, he itemized materials destroyed as including 904 ballot boxes, 29 voting cubicles, eight electric power generators, 57 election bags, 30 megaphones, 65,699 uncollected Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and a host of other assorted items such as stamps and stamp pads. He said: “The Commission is taking urgent steps to repair the damage to the building and to replace the facilities so that the office becomes functional again immediately.

In Abeokuta South Local Government Area office, where he said the destruction was total, he noted that the Commission is relocating staff to the old state office (also known as INEC Office Annex) in Oke-Ilewo area of Abeokuta. He explained: “All activities involving the 15 Registration Areas (Wards) and 445 Polling Units in Abeokuta South Local Government Area will henceforth be coordinated from the new location. Similarly, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Ogun State has been directed to compile the Voter Identification Numbers (VINs) of all the 65,699 Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) lost in the attack from our database and submit the record for immediate reprint. We want to assure affected registered voters in Abeokuta South that no one will be disenfranchised as a result of this dastardly act.”

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Copyright 2022 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to  www.signalng.com and other relevant sources.

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