- Nigeria's electoral commission is one of the biggest institutional casualties of the mounting insecurity in the country
- Offices of the electoral body nationwide have been targeted by arsonists and criminal elements in the last few months
- The worrying trend has caught the attention of INEC leadership and efforts are in place to address the issue
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says within the last two years, its offices and facilities have been attacked 41 times.
Chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu revealed this on Thursday, May 27 in Abuja at an emergency meeting with security agencies.
Professor Yakubu stated that nine of the incidents happened in 2019 while 21 cases were recorded in 2020.
Channels TV quoted him as saying:
“In the last four weeks, 11 offices of the commission were either set ablaze or vandalized.”
INEC offices have been targeted by unknown assailants in the last few months especially in the southeast and south-south regions of the country.
Experts say the ploy of the criminals might be to forestall any election scheduled to hold in both regions in 2023.
In a related development, the electoral commission has announced that it plans to create 2,673 registration centres and deploy 5,346 officials for the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) scheduled to resume on Monday, June 28.
Premium Times reports that the resumption of the nationwide CVR enables Nigerians who have attained the age of 18 years and those who did not register previously to do so.
On his part, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani has called for caution and dialogue over the recent arson and attacks on police facilities and INEC offices in the southeast.
The Guardian reports that Nnamani, a former governor of Enugu, urged all aggrieved persons to stop further arson, invasion of police, and INEC property in the zone and embrace dialogue to resolve whatever grievances they have.
Similarly, civil society organisation, Yiaga Africa, has expressed worry about the recent 'coordinated and premeditated' attacks on the facilities of INEC.
The organisation, in a statement sent to Legit.ng on Saturday, May 22, noted that the attacks are dangerous signs for Nigeria's fragile democracy, warning it will not just affect INEC's preparation for upcoming elections but also diminish citizens' confidence in the electoral process.
In the year 2021 alone, at least four offices belonging to the nation's electoral body have been attacked and set ablaze, Legit.ng can confirm.
A breakdown of the fire incidents showed that the most affected states include Akwa Ibom (four), Abia (three) Anambra (two), and Imo (two).