The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has taken significant steps to enhance security measures during off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Kogi, and Imo states. This decision comes in the wake of alarming incidents in previous elections, where INEC ad hoc staff faced attacks and electoral materials were destroyed.
During the House of Assembly election on March 18, 2023, more than 16 INEC ad hoc staff were reportedly assaulted, and ballot boxes were vandalized in Odoakpu Ward 7, Onitsha South Local Government Area, Anambra State. Similarly, on February 25, 2023, INEC ad hoc staff encountered an attack while camped at Tudunwada Primary School in Gombe State. To avert such incidents in the future, INEC has upgraded its security alert system to safeguard its staff.
Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, has disclosed that discussions are underway with security agencies to implement additional measures aimed at protecting ad-hoc staff, particularly those from the National Youth Service Corps.
Oyekanmi said, “Our staff have also been victims of kidnapping while on official duty.
“The commission takes the welfare and security of its staff and all categories of ad-hoc staff seriously.
“We work closely with the security agencies, under the aegis of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security.”
Oyekanmi further emphasized that ongoing consultations are in progress, with concurrent efforts to implement additional safety measures.
“Consultations are ongoing and additional safety measures are being taken. We have already developed an application that our staff can use to send alerts if they encounter any security challenges while on electoral duty.
“This application proved very useful during the last Anambra Governorship election, and we have improved on it. Other measures cannot be publicly disclosed,” he noted.