Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmud Yakubu, has said that the electoral umpire will henceforth employ technology to protect its headquarters and offices across Nigeria, even as he warned that the current spate of destruction of the commission’s facilities will affect the 2023 general elections.
Fielding questions from our Reporter in Abuja, the INEC boss disclosed that the commission is looking in the direction of the technology used in protecting the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and that such technological infrastructure might be used to secure INEC offices in all the states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“You know CBN offices across Nigeria are almost impregnable, no vandals can easily vandalise the structure, let alone entering inside them to damage anything. We’re a commission that is as important as the CBN, therefore we cannot toil with the idea protecting our facilities if we want our democracy to endure”, he submitted.
According to him, INEC will review its security arrangement in all its headquarters and offices across Nigeria with the plan of ensuring adequate security; even as he lamented that the commission has suffered some attacks lately in many states of the federation.
The areas he mentioned: the Southeast, South-south, Southwest and North-central regretting that the case of Enugu is worrisome because six newly acquired Hilux vans, equipped with sophisticated gadgets and electoral equipment worth N20 million each were set ablaze and completely destroyed.
His word, “Can you imagine six vehicles at the cost of N20 million each being destroyed in one fell swoop, that is N120million under few hours gone; the money would have been used to improve infrastructure in any commission or elsewhere”.
Answering a question, Professor Mahmud said however that the burning down of INEC offices in some parts of the country will not deter the commission from performing its responsibilities of conducting the general elections especially the 2023 general elections.
“We’re not deterred by the spate of attacks and vandalism on INEC facilities, what we’re doing is to raise concern because it is becoming worrisome that critical national infrastructure like ours would be subjected to that level of destruction”, he further stated.
The commission boss revealed that INEC has called the attention of the National Security Adviser and other critical security institutions on the issue and will soon review the current attacks on INEC infrastructures in order and find a way forward, even as he called on stakeholders, traditional rulers and towns where INEC facilities are sited to ensure adequate protection.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.