By Laleye Dipo
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured voters of the safety of their lives and property during the bye-election in Magama Rijau Federal Constituency seat in Niger State.
The bye-election will hold on Saturday, February 6.
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Sam Egwu, who gave the assurance in Minna on Wednesday while exchanging views with newsmen, said: “We have made adequate arrangements for security personnel to man all the polling stations where election will take place.”
Egwu said no fewer than 1,270 policemen have been mobilised to man the 307 polling units in the two local government areas in addition to a large number of men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).
In addition, Egwu said though military personnel will not be at the polling stations, they will however be stationed “some distance” away in order for them to be in position to address any unforeseen development.
“I therefore want to ask eligible voters to turn out in their numbers to cast their ballot for the candidate of their choice without any fear of molestation,” Egwu said.
The assurance followed reported cases of bandits’ attacks and kidnapping prevailing in the two local government areas where the election will take place.
He said INEC is prepared “logistically” for the election, adding that: “We have determined the requirements for electoral materials and personnel”, pointing out that sensitive materials will be transported to the two local government areas two days before the election day.
Egwu added that Smart Card Readers are being charged and recharged in preparation for the polls, stressing that the Z-Pad for the transmission of results have been received from the national headquarters of the commission.
“We are going to conduct free, fair, transparent and peaceful election. It is an established standard in INEC, we cannot go below the standard,” he said.
Meanwhile, the state Police Command on Wednesday met with the contestants in the election during which they were advised to conduct non-violent campaign and operate in strict adherence to all the rules.
Following the disqualification of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by the court, only three political parties ADC, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) are contesting the election.
Haliru Yussuf is flying the flag of the ADC; Salihu Salleh Rijau, APGA; and Alamu Emmanuel Endazo, PDP.