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INEC Charges Security Agencies to Tackle Electoral Offenders, Says, It Will Not Condone Electoral Violence

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will not condone any form of electoral violence in the Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States Governorship Elections scheduled to hold on Saturday, 11th November, 2023.

The Commission tasked Security Agencies to take decisive action against perpetrators of election violence.

The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the call, during a consultative meeting of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), Held in Abuja, on Friday 27th October, 2023.

Professor Yakubu noted with dismay the prevailing insecurity in the States fueled by political actors and their supporters since the commencement of campaigns in public on 14th July 2023. He called on the political parties to shun the negative mobilization of their supporters and other activities capable of compromising security in the three States

According to him, “The three States of Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi are not the easiest States in Nigeria to conduct elections. The difficult geographical terrain and prevailing insecurity are compounded by negative mobilization by political actors, especially since the commencement of the campaign in public on 14th July 2023.

“Our message to politicians is that they should call their candidates and supporters to order. Violence and other undemocratic activities such as vote buying, attacks on election officials, and disruption of the electoral process must stop,”

While maintaining that the ultimate responsibility for election security lies with the Security Agencies, the INEC Chairman said, “Our message to the Security Agencies is to take decisive action against perpetrators of electoral violence. This is the surest way to guarantee a safe environment for the peaceful conduct of elections and electoral activities.”

He continued: “In doing so, security personnel on electoral duty should remain neutral and committed to the established professional code of conduct and rules of engagement.”

Reeling out some statistics about the off-cycle election, Prof. Yakubu disclosed that voting will not take place in forty polling units across the three States because there are no registered voters in those Polling Units.

He said, “The three States have 5,409,438 registered voters out of which 5,169,692 have collected their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs). Eligible voters will vote in all the 10,510 polling units.”

“However, there are two polling units in Bayelsa State and 38 in Imo State without registered voters. The list of these polling units is available on our website.”

“Similarly, election results will be collated in 649 Registration Areas/Wards, 56 Local Government Areas, and the three States Collation Centres. This gives us a cumulative figure of 11,178 voting and collation locations to deploy security personnel in the three states.” He stated.

On his part, the National Security Adviser (NSA) and Co-Chairman of ICCES, Nuhu Ribadu, stated that there has been a progressive improvement in security since the conduct of the General Elections early this year.

Mr Ribadu assured all stakeholders and Nigerians of adequate security in the three States.

“We want to assure you that we are working on that, fully ready and fully prepared. Nothing is as important as free and fair election in a democracy. That we can assure you, this government is ready to provide that. Mr President has given his orders. He said he want to see free, fair, credible election.

Tell everyone including the politicians, nothing much important than to have a free and fair election, if we want this country to move forward. He is a democrat, he believes in democracy.

`We want to give assurance to Nigerians that this election will be even better than what we have had in the past. This election is going to be free and fair”, the NSA said.

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