The Independent National Electoral Commission or INEC has just confirmed that thugs disrupted voting in some polling units in Delta and Katsina states.
INEC said the thugs also stole eight Bimodal Voters Accreditation System or BVAS machines. He, however, said security personnel recovered three of six BVAS stolen in Katsina.
“In Oshimili LGA of Delta State, thugs attacked a polling unit, and two BVAS machines were lost. But again, determined that the election must continue, we were able to replace the stolen BVAS machines and reinforced security agencies, and voting continued in that polling unit,” said Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman.
“Similarly, in Safana LGA of Katsina State, thugs attacked one of our voting locations and snatched 6 BVAS machines. But again, we were able to recover and use the spare BVAS machines and reinforced security for voting to continue in that location. Happily, security agencies have recovered the BVAS machines, but three are still held by the thugs.”
Yakubu decried that the BVAS machines have become the target of political thugs.
“So in these locations, the target of attacks was the BVAS machines, no longer our ballot papers or the ballot box,” he said, promising that the Commission will deliver a free and fair election despite the challenges.
“We will ensure that we continue to do what is right. So, we consider it auspicious to address the nation at this point, and we will continue to do so intermittently during the day,” the INEC chief said.
“Until we formally commence the coalition. So far, so good, generally speaking, what is going on nationwide, the BVAS deployed nationwide is working optimally.”
He said some other issues had been reported from across the country, including the inability to begin polling in some places at exactly 8:30 am while assuring that all voters in line at 2:30 pm would still vote according to INEC policies.
“Some of the reasons why we could not open some of the polling units on time include perennial logistics problems in spite of our best efforts. I think we have conquered the challenge of getting election materials to various locations,” Mahmood said.
“Though there may be complaints here and there, generally speaking, we have delivered millions of ballot papers and result sheets that we are supposed to deliver for the elections.”
Insecurity is another challenge in some places, he said. For example, the Commission could not deploy materials early enough to Alawa community in Niger State’s Shiroro Local Government Area due to bandits’ attacks on the community.
“With the advice of the security agencies, we tarried a while, but I am happy to say that we are able to deploy to Alawa, and voting in that location is ongoing as we speak,” Mahmood stated.