INEC urges Reps to classify commission’s facilities as high Security

By Gloria Essien, Abuja

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The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has appealed to the House of Representatives to classify its facilities as high security facilities across Nigeria.

He made the appeal during the Investigation Hearing of the Ad hoc Committee to investigate the attacks on offices and facilities of the Independent National Electoral, INEC, held in Abuja.

He said that INEC might not be able to hold election in states where facilities are being repeatedly attacked.

The INEC Chairman noted that out of the thirty-six states, fifteen states have recorded fifty incidents so far.

He urged the National Assembly to expedite action to pass the Electoral Offences Commission Bill.

“Any nation that does not penalize offenders is doomed. INEC is saddled with a responsibility that it cannot execute” Prof. Yakubu said.

He said that Nigeria needs to put a stop to the destruction as the commission cannot keep replacing destroyed items.

The INEC chairman added that the commission has applied for additional budgetary allocation towards the success of the 2023 elections.

In his submission, the Commandant Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, (NSCDC), Ahmed Audi, said that the attacks were targeted at the 2023 elections.

He said that the Civil Defense has lost men in the crisis, especially in Imo state.

“It is glaring that one of the reasons for the attack is to prevent INEC from conducting a free, fair and credible election. It might disenfranchise some people and cost government money. We have increased deployment of men to curtail the attacks. We have also mounted surveillance on facilities across the country”, Mr. Audi said.

He noted that the nature of the attacks is very new in Nigeria.

Similarly, Inspector General of Police, Mrs Alkali Baba, said that the Nigerian Police are always at the receiving end of attacks.

He noted that Imo state and south East Nigeria have been very volatile due to the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra and Eastern Security Network.

He however lamented the lack of synergy and intelligence gathering between the security agencies.

“The police is handicapped as most of the people arrested are connected to high places. Police is under-staffed. We are not up to four hundred thousand. We lack manpower. We need additional funding for recruitment. We lose personnel every day and we need to replace”, he lamented.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, while declaring the hearing open, said that the House of Representatives is quite disturbed at these systematically orchestrated attacks not only because it poses a threat to INEC’s capacity to conduct the 2023 general elections, but also because it is an attack on democratic governance and the perpetrators of these attacks are enemies

“It is on this basis that the House of Representatives not only unequivocally condemned these nefarious attacks, but also resolved to set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the incessant attacks on INEC facilities. We are indeed hopeful that at the end of this investigation, the Committee would be able to come up with far reaching recommendations that will not only bring an end to these unfortunate attacks on our democracy, but also ensure that the perpetrators of the nefarious acts will be made to face the full wrath of the law”. Hon. Gbajabiamila said.

The Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee to Investigate the Attacks On Offices and Facilities of the Independent National Electoral, INEC, Hon Oluga Taiwo Oluremi, said that from the submissions, the security agencies are under staffed.

She noted that the House would look into the issue of adequate manpower of security agencies as well as other recommendations

She also urged security forces to be more proactive to prevent further attacks

The Investigative Hearing was precipitated by a Motion that was brought before the House on the ‘Need to Condemn the Attacks on Offices and Facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission’, moved by Hon. Ibrahim Olarenwaju Kunle.

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