The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, on Friday, held an emergency meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security.
The emergency meeting was summoned by INEC over recent attacks on the INEC offices in Ogun and Osun states in the early hours of Thursday.
The inter-agency committee includes the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Babagana Monguno (Rtd.); the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba; Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi; and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
Yakubu confirmed that cases of arson at the INEC offices in Ogun and Osun which he said led to the loss of 904 election boxes and 65,699 uncollected Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs). According to him, the Commission will reproduce the affected PVCs from their data.
While expressing strong concerns over political attacks, he urged the committee to take decisive action to nip such occurrences in the bud.
52 cases of Violence
In his remarks, Monguno said he was aware that in the last month, at least 52 cases of violence across 22 states of the federation had been reported, a situation which he described as a bad omen that must be dealt with decisively.
The NSA also noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had given a directive that the 2023 general elections be conducted without any rancour. According to him, the President is pleased with the conduct of the off-season governorship elections held in Anambra, Ekiti, and Osun states, and anticipates a similar outcome in the 2023 elections.
Monguno added that the security agencies had received clear directives to “deal decisively” with any group or individual who wants to foment trouble. He cautioned such groups, irrespective of their political leaning, to beware of the security agencies which, according to him, are on high alert.
The IGP confirmed that some arrests have already been made, investigations are ongoing, and hopes that justice is swiftly dispensed so that it could serve as deterrent for others.