Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says attacks on its offices are a “major threat” to the commission’s scheduled activities as they have become “more frequent and systematic targeted at demobilising and dismantling critical electoral infrastructure.”
According to the country’s electoral commission, 14 Nigerian states have been attacked 41 times since the 2019 general elections.
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, while speaking at an emergency meeting with security agencies convened under the inter-agency consultative committee on election security in the nation’s capital, Abuja, said some of the assets lost in the attacks include 1,105 ballot boxes, 429 generator sets and 13 vehicles.
“In the last two years, the commission has recorded a total of 41 incidents involving deliberate attacks on the Commission’s facilities. Nine of these incidents happened in 2019 and 21 cases in 2020,” Mr Yakubu said.
“In the last four weeks, 11 offices of the commission were either set ablaze or vandalised. Two of these incidents were caused by Boko Haram and Bandit attacks while 10 resulted from thuggery during election and post-election violence. However, the majority of the attacks (29 out of 41) were unrelated to election or electoral activities.
“In fact, 18 of them occurred during the EndSARS protests in October last year while 11 attacks were organised by ‘unknown gunmen’ and ‘hoodlums’.
“Although the commission is assessing the loss of materials during recent attacks, our preliminary assessment so far indicate that we lost 1,105 ballot boxes, 694 voting cubicles, 429 electric generating sets and 13 utility vehicles (Toyota Hilux).”
According to him, it’s the believe of the electoral commission that collaboration with security agencies will prevent such attacks which “should now be treated as a national security emergency.”
By Abel Ejikeme