Offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are perceived to be under serious attack all over Nigeria as the general election is a few days away. Another office of the electoral umpire was said to have gone up in flames in Abia State, South East part of Nigeria, a few days after two offices of INEC caught fire where properties worth millions Naira were lost.
The unbelievable and suspicious incidences of such fire outbreak at INEC offices made the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, some days ago to promise that security would be beefed up at INEC properties all over the country.
He said all commissioners of police in the 36 states and Abuja have been directed to put in place adequate, functional and purposeful security arrangements aimed at protecting all INEC offices and materials from all forms of crimes and mischief before, during and after the elections.
The order was announced hours after INEC announced that it had reported to the police chief the fire in two of its offices in Abia and Plateau states.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the fire in the two states that destroyed thousands of voters cards, ballot boxes and other materials.
The statement by police spokesman, Frank Mba, said the zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs) have also been mandated to monitor compliance level of commands under their jurisdiction with the directive.
“The IG also also directed the AIGs and CPs to ensure that no breach of security of any kind occurs within and around INEC facilities under their watch”.
Mr Mba said the order takes immediate effect.
“The Inspector General of Police assures Nigerians of the readiness of the Nigeria Police Force to deliver on its mandate of providing a safe and enabling environment for the conduct of the general election,” Mr Mba said
He also reiterated the commitment of the police to providing a level playing field for all political actors, while remaining professional and apolitical in the discharge of its responsibilities.
Obiano calls for adequate security in polling units
In a related development, Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra has appealed to security agencies to ensure the deployment of adequate personnel in polling units in the state during the forthcoming general election.
Obiano, represented by his deputy, Dr Nkem Okeke made the call at a stakeholders’ forum organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday in Awka.
He said available intelligence showed that some people were planning to ferment trouble during the election. The governor also appealed to INEC to ensure that the card reader machines to be used for the election remain functional and urged it to conduct the election in an unbiased manner.
Also speaking, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, said 2.4 million voters were registered for the election. Orji, however, said it was worrisome that in spite of the figure the state had not recorded beyond 25 percent voters’ turn out in any election since 1999.
He disclosed that 25, 712 ad hoc staff had been engaged for the conduct of the election in 5,720 polling units across the state. He also announced that a total of 191, 344 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) were not collected even when the deadline was extended to Feb.11.
“The uncollected cards will be kept in the custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria till after the general election,’’ he said. Orji said the commission was ready and willing to conduct free, fair and credible election.
Mr Mustapha Dandaura, the state Commissioner of Police assured that security agencies would adhere to professional ethics during the election.
He said that police had already mapped out plans to tackle possible security challenge in all identified flashpoints in the state.
Question on the lips of everyone right now is: Why is INEC offices going up in flames a few days to the election?
Could it be that some evil-minded people are behind the destruction of INEC materials, which are to be used for the forthcoming elections?
Let’s hear from you through your comments.