The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of those involved in attacks on its offices and facilities ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the call yesterday in Abuja at an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).
The meeting was coming in the wake of Thursday’s attack on INEC offices in Ogun and Osun states, where over 65,000 uncollected permanent voters cards (PVCs) and other items were destroyed.
Yakubu also lamented the spate of physical attacks during the ongoing political campaigns and rallies, and informed that the commission had so far tracked 50 incidents across 21 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He said the commission was taking urgent steps to repair the damage to its buildings and replace the facilities in the Ede South Local Government Area so that the office would become functional again.
“The commission is worried that if no urgent and decisive steps are taken, the attacks will intensify as we approach the election date. As we all know, a peaceful campaign heralds a peaceful election. We need to take decisive steps to stem the ugly trend,” he said.
On their parts, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Babagana Monguno and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Alkali Baba, warned those planning to undermine the 2023 general elections to have a rethink or be ready to face the wrath of the law.
Monguno in his remarks said that President Muhammadu Buhari had given all security agencies and intelligence agencies to deal decisively with any individual or group who wants to disrupt the peace and success of the election.
IGP Baba, on his part, said the police were committed to ensuring that the 2023 general elections were peaceful and credible, urging the political actors to play by the rule to enable security agencies protect them.
He, however, said that since the campaigns commenced, there had been reported cases of violence at rallies, adding that arrests have so far been made.