Following the recent attack on the Osun and Ogun states offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Police Commissioners across the country have been ordered to protect all INEC facilities within their Commands.
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, gave the directive on Friday at an emergency meeting with the heads of security agencies who are members of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security.
The Force Spokesperson, Muyiwa Adejobi, who made these know in an interview with reporters, said the IGP also asked the police commissioners to intensify efforts to arrest the culprits involved in the attacks on the commission’s facilities nationwide.
Recall that during the attack on the Osun and Ogun states INEC offices, thousands of Permanent Voters Cards, PVC’s, awaiting collection and other materials were destroyed in a fire.
In Ogun State, 65,699 PVCs, 904 ballot boxes, 29 voting cubicles, 30 megaphones, 57 election bags and eight electric power generators were destroyed while in Osun State, a portion of the commission’s office was set ablaze.
However, documents relating to the ongoing governorship election petitions tribunal in Osun State were not destroyed in the attack.
Already, some suspects have been arrested in connection with the twin attacks in Ogun and Osun states.
Meanwhile, the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yabuku, has vowed that the attacks on the commission’s facilities would not stop the 2023 elections from taking place as scheduled.
He said “the commission wishes to reassure Nigerians that we remain committed to delivering credible elections in spite of the challenges. 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.”
Yakubu also explained that the commission was urgently taking steps to repair damaged INEC buildings and replace the burnt PVCs.
He stated, “The commission is taking urgent steps to repair the damage to the building and replace the facilities in the Ede South Local Government Area so that the office becomes functional again immediately.
“For Abeokuta South Local Government Area office, the destruction was total. Consequently, the commission is relocating our staff to the old state office (also known as INEC Office Annex) in Oke-Ilewo area of Abeokuta.