INEC Chairman Calls On Security Agencies To Investigate Election Violence
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu has urged security agencies to investigate violent incidents that sought to mar the elections on Saturday.
Professor Mahmood made this call in his address on Sunday, February 24.
Mahmood said that the Commission has taken an in-depth analysis of the situation of things around the nation, with a major focus at the hitches encountered during the conduct of elections.
He stated that voting took place nationwide on Saturday, stressing that the Commission is happy with the generally peaceful conduct of citizens as they went to the polls to elect their next President and National Assembly members.
He, however, noted that there were cases of election violence that sought to mar the conduct of the elections, one of which led to the death of an ad-hoc staff in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The INEC boss said the staff, Amakiri Ibisaki, female, was hit by a “stray bullet,” on her way back from electoral duties.
He noted that the Commission condemns the killing and will furnish security agencies with comprehensive reports to enable proper investigations.
“We have unfortunately recorded the first fatality in Rivers state. An ad-hoc staff, Mrs. Ibiseki Amakri was hit by a bullet while returning from election duty in Degema, may her soul rest in peace”.
“We condemn this attack and will forward a comprehensive report to security agencies for expeditious investigations and prosecution of those involved.”
Speaking about the general conduct of the elections, the chief electoral officer noted that on Saturday night, the Commission met and reviewed the processes and challenges arising from the electoral exercise, based on the information obtained from its state offices nationwide as well as the information harvested from various citizens contact platforms.
He noted that there were some hiccups in getting some of the ad-hoc staff and materials to the polling centres, thereby leading to the late commencement in certain units, a situation which he said was put to check by extension of the voting duration.
Prof Mahmood also said that the INEC is not unaware of the violence that stifled the conduct of elections in certain areas, noting that re-conduction of the polls have been considered and to this effect, smart card readers were reconfigured to enable elections to take place in those units.
According to the INEC chairman, the Commission’s report suggests that many citizens who would have otherwise been disenfranchised were able to cast their ballots.
He, however, noted that in spite of the INEC’s best efforts, to enhance the functionality of the smart card readers, the commission encountered technical glitches in some locations.
The chairman, however, noted that these glitches were fixed effectively in time to enable the conduct of elections.
“Through the deployment of 8,809 registration area technical support that we engaged as ad-hoc staff, many of these glitches were rectified, which enabled voting to take place seamlessly in some of the affected areas”.
He, however, noted that despite the interventions there were places where voting could not be conducted due to the failures of the smart card readers and other issues but assured that the situation has been placed under control.