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Attacks: Army, Police, DSS Operatives To Be Deployed To All INEC Facilities

By Adedayo Said

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says joint teams of security operatives will be deployed to all its facilities across the country.

Recently, the INEC offices in Abeokuta south LGA of Ogun state and Ede south of Osun state were attacked.

The commission’s facility in Ogun was said to have been torched by suspected hoodlums who scaled the perimeter fence to access the building.

The attacks in Ogun and Osun were the latest in a series of invasions of INEC facilities across the country.

According to a statement issued on Saturday by Modibbo Alkali, national commissioner and chairman, security committee, INEC, the decision on the deployment of security operatives was taken after a meeting on Friday.

The meeting, which was held with the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), also reviewed the incidents of violence during campaigns by political parties.

According to the commission, persons involved in hate speech and other such violations will be prosecuted accordingly.

“With 105 days to the 2023 General Election, the meeting noted with grave concern the recent attacks on INEC facilities in Ogun and Osun states,” the statement reads.

“Similarly troubling is the rising incidents of attacks on supporters and facilities of political parties, ostensibly by political opponents, so soon into the five-month period for campaign rallies, processions and meetings as provided in the INEC timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election.

“It is even more worrisome that these are happening as several electoral activities that will precede the elections are in progress such as the display of the register of voters for claims and objections nationwide.

“Following extensive reports, reviews and deliberations, the meeting arrived at the following resolutions: Security agencies will upscale intelligence gathering, sharing and utilisation of the same to stem further sabotage.

“Deployment of joint security and safety teams to all INEC assets and facilities nationwide forthwith. The teams will include, among others, the police, army, DSS, civil defence and the federal fire service.

“In addition to the measures already taken for the arrest and prosecution of offenders, the inspector general of police, as head of the lead agency in internal security, shall convene a meeting of all political parties, candidates and other critical stakeholders to reiterate the imperative of peaceful campaign and to convey the enforcement measures to be taken against violators.

“Decisive lawful action shall be taken against purveyors of hate speech, incitement to violence, mobilisation of thugs and other violations, including the prompt arrest, investigation and prosecution of offenders in line with the provisions of Sections 92 and 93 of the Electoral Act 2022. Those already arrested will face prosecution immediately.”

The commission also appealed to Nigerians to continue to support INEC and the security agencies to ensure a peaceful and secure environment for the 2023 general election.

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