The Inter-agency Consultative Committee On Election Security (ICCES) on Saturday, revealed the immediate deployment of Joint Security and Safety Teams to all Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices nationwide.
Speaking on the development, the Commission stated that the deployed personnel will include the Nigeria Police Force, The Nigerian Army, Department of State Services (DSS), Civil Defence, and Federal Fire Service, among others.
He added that the security agencies will put all hands on deck to hasten plans towards thwarting further attacks on the electoral body.
The decision was taken, following the resolutions of an emergency meeting of ICCES signed by the national commissioner and chairman, Security Committee of INEC, Maj. Gen. Modibbo A. Alkali (rtd).
The statement further revealed that persons found guilty of perpetrating such acts will be prosecuted without delay. Also, there will be an important meeting of political parties, candidates, and crucial stakeholders to re-emphasise the need for peaceful campaigns to avoid any further sabotage.
Excerpts from the statement:
“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 meeting appealed to Nigerians to continue to support INEC and the security agencies to ensure a peaceful and secure environment for the 2023 General Election.”
“The meeting was co-chaired by the chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and the national security adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd). The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, representatives of the Armed Forces, the intelligence, law enforcement, and safety agencies as well as other members of the ICCES also attended the meeting.
“With 105 days to the 2023 General Election, the meeting noted with grave concerns the recent attacks on INEC facilities in Ogun and Osun States.
“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.”
Following the recent attacks on the Local Government offices of INEC in some parts of the country, the Commission began to seek for effective strategies for responding to the worrisome trend.
Also addressed, was the growing cases of violence and extremism during campaigns by seemingly intolerant political parties in the country.