Attacks won’t stop 2023 polls, INEC affirms as commission records seven incidents in four months
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has again assured Nigerians that the 2023 general election will be conducted despite attacks on its facilities.
The commission had lamented the spate of attacks by hoodlums, putting the number of affected offices at 50, across 21 states.
But speaking on Channels Television’s Roadmap 2023, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of the Committee on Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Festus Okoye, said sensitive materials to be deployed for next year’s polls were not in the facilities recently attacked.
“I just want to assure the nation that our sensitive materials are not in any of these places where these attacks have occurred.
“We have secured the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and other sensitive materials that will be used in the conduct of this election. Those materials are not in any of these facilities that are being attacked,” he said.
According to Okoye, the electoral umpire is working closely with security agencies to forestall recurrence of attacks on its facilities.
Okoye said security has been beefed up in INEC offices across the 36 states of the federation and in the Federal Capital Territory, noting that security agencies are also manning strategic INEC offices in local councils in the states.
He explained that the commission would replace damaged equipment, following the attacks, as soon as possible.
But he added: “As we move closer to the election, if these attacks persist, it may be difficult for us to replace some of the materials that have been damaged.
“That is why we want to get these offices secured and prevent some of these attacks. This commission is resolved and determined to proceed with electoral business because that is what the Nigerian people want and expect us to do.”
INEC’s affirmation came as suspected hoodlums, yesterday, attacked the commission’s office in Oru West Council, Imo State.
The incident affected the conference room where office furniture and fittings were destroyed.
The attacks in the South East and the South South regions have been blamed on the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). The group, however, has consistently denied any involvement.