Sabotage: We Shall Reproduce Burnt 65,699 PVCs – INEC

Muhammed Abubakar, Reporting

UNDAUNTED, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it shall reproduce the burnt 65,699 Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) at its local government area office in Abeokuta South in Ogun State.

The commissioner said no prospective voters would be disenfranchised due to the setback occasioned by attacks by hoodlums.

Chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu gave the assurances on Friday at the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting held at the Commission headquarters in Abuja.

Stonix News had reported that hoodlums had, on Thursday morning, attacked the INEC’s Abeokuta South LGA office in Ogun State, burning 65,699 uncollected PVCs, 904 ballot boxes, 29 voting cubicles, 8 electric power generators, and 57 election bags, among other items.

Professor Yakubu disclosed that “the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Ogun state has been directed to compile the Voter Identification Numbers (VINs) of all the 65,699 Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) lost in the attack from our database and submit the record for immediate reprint.

“We want to assure affected registered voters in Abeokuta South that no one will be disenfranchised as a result of this dastardly act.

“The Commission is taking urgent steps to repair the damage to the building and replace the facilities in the Ede South Local Government Area so that the office becomes functional again immediately.”

Speaking on the spate of violence trailing campaigns by political parties, the INEC chairman told the gathering of top security personnel that “the commission has, so far, tracked 50 incidents across 21 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.”

He enjoined the ICCES to come up with decisive actions to curtail threats to security around election officials and electoral infrastructure across the country.

“Turning to the spate of physical attacks during the ongoing political campaigns and rallies, the Commission has, so far, tracked 50 incidents across 21 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

“These unhappy occurrences are coming just a little over one month into the election campaign which is scheduled to last for about five months from 28th September 2022 to 23rd February 2023 for national elections (Presidential and National Assembly) and from 12th October 2022 to 11th March 2023 for State elections (Governorship and Houses of Assembly).

“The commission is worried that if no urgent and decisive steps are taken, the attacks will intensify as we approach the election date.

“As we all know, a peaceful campaign heralds a peaceful election. We need to take decisive steps to stem the ugly trend.

“As a body, the ICCES brings together security, safety and other agencies responsible for securing the process and ensuring peaceful elections in Nigeria.

“Understandably, Nigerians expect decisive action from ICCES.

“It is important that we move swiftly to apprehend perpetrators, prosecute them as required by law and reinforce security around election officials and electoral infrastructure around the country.

“As we have stated on several occasions, the election is a multi-stakeholder activity involving not just INEC and the security agencies.

“The political class plays, perhaps, the most critical role in ensuring peaceful elections.

“We must all rise to the occasion. Nigerians are watching us. The world is watching us. We must never disappoint them.

“The commission wishes to reassure Nigerians that we remain committed to delivering credible elections in spite of the challenges.

“The attempt to sabotage or weaken our resolve will not deter us from conducting transparent elections in which only the votes cast by Nigerians on Election Day will determine winners of elections,” the INEC boss insisted.

Speaking at the event, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Moguno, emphasised that the security chiefs were determined to carry out the instruction of President Muhammadu Buhari to deal with any group or organisation which endangers the smooth conduct of the 2023 general elections.

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