The chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, has stated that the commission will recover from attacks on its facilities and conduct the 2023 elections.
Yakubu, who made the remark on Friday while making a submission before the House Ad-hoc committee investigating the attacks on the Commission’s facilities, however cautioned that the attacks must stop.
He said the commission had witnessed 50 incidences in 15 states since 2019.
According to him, there were eight attacks in 2019, 22 in 2020 and 12 in 2021 while eight had been recorded in 2022.
The INEC chairman stated that Imo State topped the list with 11 incidences followed by Osun with seven, five cases in Enugu and Akwa Ibom, while Abia and Cross Rivers also had four incidences each.
He further informed that two incidences were recorded in Anambra and Taraba states and one each in Bayelsa, Ondo, Lagos, Borno, Kaduna and Ogun states.
Yakubu informed the committee that while the commission is working to replace damaged or lost items as a result of the attacks, it cannot be doing that forever to conduct elections.
He informed that while INEC is taking measures including relocation of some of the offices from vulnerable areas, it is working on use of technology and collaborating with security agencies to do everything to stop the attacks on its facilities.
He further reiterated that despite the seeming threat to the 2023 elections and the spate of attacks by criminals on its facilities, the commission is confident that such attacks will not stop the conduct of the elections.
In his opening remark, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila represented by Leke Abejide said the investigation was precipitated by a motion brought before the House on the ‘Need To Condemn The Attacks On Offices and Facilities OF The Independent National Electoral Commission’.
He said, “The House had noted the frequent systemic attacks on personnel, offices and facilities of INEC, which are presumably, targeted at crippling the commission and scuttling the 2023 general elections”.
In her welcome address, chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Taiwo Oluga, said “It is on record that, since 2019, over 40 INEC offices and facilities have been attacked and set ablaze.
“These attacks have resulted in the destruction of INEC properties, elections materials and most importantly, thousands of Permanent Voter Cards.
“These systematically orchestrated attacks have the potential to not only undermine the capacity of INEC to organise elections, but could also have a negative impact on the outcome of the 2023 elections.”