The Independent National Electoral Commission has acknowledged that some of its officials who worked during the presidential and National Assembly elections of February 23 experienced threats, harassment, intimidation, assault, abduction and rape.
The Commission directed its Resident Electoral Commissioners to submit comprehensive reports of the incidents to it for appropriate action.
This was part of the decisions taken by INEC during its meeting held on Thursday, February 28, 2019 with Resident Electoral Commissioners in Abuja to review the presidential and National Assembly elections.
The meeting, according to a statement issued on Friday by INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, was also to assess preparations for the governorship, state houses of Assembly and the Federal Capital Territory Area Council elections scheduled for Saturday, March 9, 2019.
He said, “The meeting acknowledged the delays in the commencement of elections in a number of polling units which necessitated the extension of the closing of polls in the affected areas. The commission is determined to rectify the identified challenges before the elections on March 9.
“The meeting, among others, assessed the role of security agencies in the elections. While acknowledging their professionalism in the deployment of election personnel and materials in a safe and timely manner, the conduct of certain members of the security agencies in some states is a matter of serious concern to the commission.
“This matter will be further discussed directly with the Inspector-General of Police within the ambit of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security in preparation for the governorship, state houses of Assembly and FCT Area Council elections.
“Although the elections were generally peaceful, the meeting observed and decried the high level of violence in a few places, which, regrettably led to fatalities in some states, in addition to the subjugation of some of our electoral officials to threats, harassment, intimidation, assault, abduction and even rape.”
While condoling with the families of its ad-hoc staff who lost their lives while on this national assignment, as well as other Nigerians who died in the course of the elections, INEC also expressed its regrets to and sympathy for all victims of the violence, saying “we stand with them in these difficult times.”