The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has outlined the need to curb attacks on its offices across the country.
Appearing before the house of representatives ad hoc committee investigating attacks on the facilities of the commission on Friday, December 16, INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu said the attacks might disrupt the 2023 election.
“The attacks have far-reaching implications on preparation for the general election. Firstly, the facilities that are destroyed, especially offices, would take time to rebuild.
The commission and security agencies must also continue to provide safety around the facilities, and as I said earlier, it may be very challenging, because the security agencies are also protecting all of us and other national assets.
Now, we have to rebuild the facilities and our funds are overstretched by a number of factors. We cannot continue to replace and rebuild. And what is even more worrisome for us is the attack in Izzi LGA of Ebonyi state.
The building was first attacked on 18th May, 2021. We included the resources in our election project plan budget to rebuild the office, and we did so. We rebuilt the office and our staff moved in on Friday. That weekend, on Sunday, the office was burnt down again and there are five such offices nationwide where, in spite of our best efforts, the facility was attacked not only once, but twice. We have five offices and even after rebuilding or trying to rebuild, the offices were attacked again.
We are determined that we would continue with our preparations for the 2023 general election. So, all the facilities would be rebuilt or alternatives found and materials would be replaced.
However, should such attacks continue at the pace at which they are happening at the moment, the commission may find it increasingly difficult to recover in good time for the election.
If it is about stopping the attacks, yes, we can recover. But if the attacks continue, it would be very difficult for the commission to recover.”