INEC expresses worry over security personnel’s conduct during last polls
Holds Supplementary Elections Next Saturday
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), at the end of a meeting on Thursday that lasted late into the night between its Chairman, Professor Mahmud Yakubu, and Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Abuja to review last Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly Elections and assessed the role of security agencies in the elections, while acknowledging their professionalism in the deployment of election personnel and materials in a safe and timely manner, expressed concern over the conduct of certain members of the security agencies in some states.
The Commission also disclosed that supplementary elections would be conducted next Saturday, alongside the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, in all areas where elections did not take place and/or where returns could not be made last Saturday.
“This matter will be further discussed directly with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) within the ambit of the lnter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in preparation for the Governorship, State Houses of Assembly and FCT Area Council elections,” it added.
INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Festus Okoye, in a statement issued yesterday, said the meeting noted a number of cancellations in certain areas due to violence, which prevented the Commission from deploying personnel and materials for the elections, noting that in a number of locations, it could not conclude the elections due to disruptions and deliberate noncompliance with the use of the Smart Card Reader (SCR), contrary to the lNEC Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections.
The electoral body acknowledged that although the elections were generally peaceful, the meeting observed and decried the high level of violence in a few places, which regrettably led to fatalities in some states, in addition to the subjugation of some of its officials to threats, harassment, intimidation, assault, abduction and even rape.
The meeting acknowledged delays in the commencement of elections in a number of polling units, which necessitated the extension of the closing of polls in the affected areas, with assurances of the Commission’s determination to rectify the identified challenges before the March 9 elections.
According to Okoye, the meeting also considered and received updates on preparations for next Saturday’s elections and expressed satisfaction with the level of preparedness and deployments of sensitive and non-sensitive materials scheduled for delivery to the Registration Area Centres (RACS) on Friday, March 8, which it said was on course. RECs were further directed to engage with and provide regular updates to stakeholders on the state of preparations for the elections, the statement added.
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