The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that its offices in 14 states have been attacked 41 times since the 2019 general elections.
The commission’s chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who revealed this while speaking at an emergency meeting with security agencies under the inter-agency consultative committee on election security (ICCES) in Abuja on Thursday, said some of the assets lost in the attacks include 1,105 ballot boxes, 429 generator sets and 13 vehicles.
According to Yakubu, the attacks are a “major threat” to INEC’s scheduled activities as they have become “more frequent and systematic targeted at demobilising and dismantling critical electoral infrastructure.”
He said: “In the last two years, the commission has recorded a total of 41 incidents involving deliberate attacks on the Commission’s facilities. Nine of these incidents happened in 2019 and 21 cases in 2020.
“In the last four weeks, 11 offices of the commission were either set ablaze or vandalised. Two of these incidents were caused by Boko Haram and bandit attacks while 10 resulted from thuggery during election and post-election violence. However, the majority of the attacks (29 out of 41) were unrelated to election or electoral activities.
“In fact, 18 of them occurred during the EndSARS protests in October last year while 11 attacks were organised by ‘unknown gunmen’ and ‘hoodlums.’
”Although the commission is assessing the loss of materials during recent attacks, our preliminary assessment so far indicate that we lost 1,105 ballot boxes, 694 voting cubicles, 429 electric generating sets and 13 utility vehicles (Toyota Hilux).”
The INEC chairman added that the commission hopes to work with the security agencies to forestall the attacks which “should now be treated as a national security emergency.”