The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday said it had deployed a security alert to protect staff during the off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Kogi, and Imo states.
It was reported that over 16 INEC ad hoc staff were attacked and electoral materials, including ballot boxes, were destroyed at Odoakpu Ward 7 in Onitsha South Local Government Area, Anambra State, during the House of Assembly election on March 18, 2023.
Also, on February 25, 2023, the police in Gombe State confirmed an attack on INEC ad hoc staff camped at the Tudunwada Primary School, in the Gombe metropolis among other attacks.
To prevent such occurrences, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, told our correspondent that aside from the security alert which has been improved to protect INEC staff, discussions are ongoing with security agencies to deploy additional measures to protect ad-hoc staff especially National Youth Service Corps and its staff.
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.
“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.”