The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday, February 25, bemoaned reports of attacks in some polling units across the country as accreditation and voting continues for the presidential and National Assembly elections.
According to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, some Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines were stolen away from polling units, saying reports of attacks by bandits and thugs would be investigated with appropriate responses provided.
Responding to questions during a press briefing in Abuja, Yakubu said some of the delays around the country was due to the late opening of the polling units due to security concerns.
“We couldn’t deploy early enough to Alawa in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State. Bandits launched an attack, not necessarily on INEC officials, but in the area,” he said.
“So, on the advice of the security agencies, we tarried a while. But I’m happy to say that we were able to deploy to Alawa and voting in that location is ongoing as we speak.”
In Oshimili Local Government Area of Delta State, thugs reportedly attacked a polling unit and in the process, two BVAS machines were lost while in Safana LGA, Katsina State, thugs attacked one of our voting locations and snatched six BVAS machines, Yakubu told journalists.
“But again, determined that elections must continue, we were able to replace the stolen BVAS machines, reinforce security, and voting continued in that location.”
“Happily, the security agencies have recovered three of the BVAS machines, but three are still held by the thugs,” he said.
“So, in these locations, the target of attack was actually the BVAS machines – no longer our ballot papers or ballot boxes. But in the two instances, we were able to recover and continue with the process.”“Voting hasn’t ended; we’re sure we’ll overcome whatever challenges and every Nigerian will have the opportunity to vote,” he said.
“There are some, should I say, bandits or insurgents that were firing from the mountain top in Gwoza – just firing at random.
“That was what we were tracking before we had to come to be brief, so we’ll continue to track. At 4:30 [pm] we should be able to give further update on that,” he said.