Politics

INEC to convene emergency security meeting

...Commission's office razed in Abia

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will next week convene an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) to deliberate on how to check the incessant attacks on its offices nationwide.

Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, told the reporter that the Commission will hold wider consultations to determine the best way to protect its offices and assets from attacks.

According to him, “we want to convene an emergency meeting of Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) so that they can advise us on what to do. The normal security arrangement we had was to have a security person there and we have that arrangement in place, so even if you bring one or two persons to add to that, it may not serve if you don’t have adequate arrangement with those who are saddled with the responsibility of providing security.

“So we just felt we needed wider consultation than handling this alone. So let the ICCES people come, the Armed Forces and they will tell us exactly what they think we should do and we will announce what the next step will be.”

The Commission’s office in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State was set ablaze by hoodlums on Sunday night, a week after the Commission’s Headquarters in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, was also razed by unknown persons.

In an earlier statement by INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, “five months ago on 13th December 2020, the INEC LGA office in Aba South was completely burnt down while that of Arochukwu LGA was vandalised and ransacked in October 2020.”

It however assured that the attacks will not derail the ongoing expansion of voter access to Polling Units and preparations for the resumption of Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).

According to the statement, “the Commission met today, Monday 10th May 2021, and discussed a wide-range of issues, including a disturbing report from Abia State. The Resident Electoral Commissioner for the State, Dr. Joseph Iloh, reported that INEC’s recently renovated office in Ohafia Local Government Area has been set ablaze.

“The incident occurred late on Sunday night, 9th May 2021. There are no casualties on the part of our staff on guard duty but the building was virtually destroyed. Apart from furniture items, all electoral materials and office equipment were destroyed.

“The matter has been reported to the police for investigation”.

It continued that, “it will be recalled that only last week, the Commission reported an attack on its office in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State and expressed anxiety about the impact of such attacks on electoral activities, including the ongoing expansion of voter access to Polling Units, resumption of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), pending bye-elections, end-of-tenure elections and ultimately the 2023 General Election.

“The latest incident in Abia State is one too many. This is not the first attack on the Commission’s facilities in the State in recent times. Five months ago on 13th December 2020, the INEC LGA office in Aba South was completely burnt down while that of Arochukwu LGA was vandalised and ransacked in October 2020.

“These facilities are national assets, which must be protected. Accordingly, the Commission is convening an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) next week to discuss this disturbing trend.

“Meanwhile, the Commission wishes to reassure Nigerians that all activities in relation to the ongoing expansion of voter access to Polling Units and preparations for the resumption of CVR as well as all scheduled elections will proceed as planned.”

THE NATION

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Close
Close