Again, INEC Assures Nigerians of Transparent 2023 Elections

•Meets NCC, telecom operators on network availability today 

•Police place N2.5m bounty on Ogun INEC office attackers

Chuks Okocha in Abuja and James Sowole in Abeokuta

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, for the umpteenth time, assured Nigerians and members of the international community that it would conduct a credible and transparent general election in 2023.

This is as the commission has said it has scheduled to meet with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) today, as part of efforts to consolidate on plans for electronic transmission of results during the elections.

Meanwhile, the Ogun State Police Command, has announced a reward of N2.5 million for anyone that could provide useful information that could lead to the arrest of attackers of those who attacked the Ogun INEC office in Abeokuta, the state capital.

Shairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, spoke when he received  the delegation led by Ms Giovanie Biha:  the UN Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel and Officer in Charge of UNOWAS.

According to him, “With just 81 days to the 2023 general election, we have made tremendous progress in our preparations so far. This is the 7th consecutive general election since the restoration of democracy in Nigeria in 1999.

“We are aware of the importance of our elections to Nigeria, our sub-region and the world. We assure you that the commission will not fail the nation and the international community. We will continue to make incremental improvement to our electoral process supported by the deployment of appropriate and relevant technology that will make voter accreditation and result management more credible and transparent.”

Yakubu, who expressed concerns over the security situation in the country and the subregion, said,  “At different fora, Electoral Commissions in West Africa and beyond have expressed concern about the impact of prevailing insecurity on the conduct of elections, particularly, with regard to insurgency, banditry and other forms of armed conflict.

“Consequently, a 9-nation conference of Electoral Commissions and election experts is holding this week in Ouagadougou, involving the host, Burkina Faso, as well as Benin Republic, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo from West Africa; and the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo from Central Africa. Nigeria will be making two presentations at the Conference,” he disclosed.

On meeting with NCC, Yakubu, who made this disclosure at a one-day strategic interactive meeting with line editors in Lagos State, said the meeting was to address issues of poor telecommunications network amidst reports that not all parts of the country was covered by General Satellite  Mobile (GSM) Communications.

In a related development, the Police in Ogun, announced the reward in a statement signed by their Public Relations Officer (PPRO),  Mr Abimbola Oyeyemi.

The INEC office in Abeokuta South Local Government area of Ogun State, was on November 1, 2022, attacked by hoodlums, who set the office located at Iyana Mortuary, ablaze.

During the attack, it was reported that no less than 65,000 Permanent Voter Cards, were destroyed.

According to the police, “Hoolums sneaked into the premises in the dead of the night with loaves of bread soaked in petrol, which they threw into different parts of the building and set it on fire.

“The Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole, has since directed the State Criminal Investigation Departments of the Command, to commence investigation, with the view to unraveling the arsonists behind the devilish act.

“In furtherance to the directive  to get to the root of the matter, and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Command has resolved to reward anybody with credible information that will lead to the arrest of the perpetrators with the sum of #2.5 million.

“In view of this, any  member of the public with useful information that will assist the command should come forward, and rest assured that such information will be treated with utmost confidentiality.”

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