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‘Affront to democracy’ — reps to probe attacks on INEC offices

‘Affront to democracy’ — reps to probe attacks on INEC offices
November 30
17:20 2022

The house of representatives has resolved to investigate the attacks on the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

At Wednesday’s plenary, the lawmakers asked security agencies to “synergise” with Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, to “identify, investigate, arrest, and prosecute the perpetrators behind the attacks”.

The resolution was passed following the adoption of a motion passed by Olarewaju Ibrahim, a lawmaker representing Ido/Osi/Moba/Ilejemeje constituency of Ekiti state.

In recent weeks, INEC offices in parts of the country, including Enugu, Osun, Ogun, and Ebonyi, were set ablaze, with thousands of permanent voter cards (PVCs), ballot boxes, and other election materials destroyed.

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Lamenting the attacks on Monday, Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, had said the commission would replace the damaged election materials, adding that the attacks won’t stop the conduct of the 2023 polls.

Debating the motion on the floor of the house on Wednesday, Ibrahim said the attacks are premeditated and are “targeted at crippling and scuttling” INEC’s effort on conducting the general election.

“If these systematically orchestrated attacks on personnel and facilities of INEC are not checked, the actions are capable of disrupting the 2023 general election,” he said.

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“The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) guarantees democratic governance as the only acceptable and legitimate means of governance, and democracy is only sustained by free, fair and credible elections.

“Hence, an attack against elections is an attack against democratic governance and perpetrators of such attacks are enemies of the country.”

The legislator said despite the attacks being an “affront to democracy and the constitution of Nigeria”, the police and other security agencies “have been unable to arrest perpetrators of this heinous crime”.

The motion was unanimously adopted when it was put to a voice vote by Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house.

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Subsequently, the house set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the attacks and report findings within three weeks for further legislative actions.

SLIGHT DRAMA OVER PVC PRODUCTION COST

While debating his motion, Ibrahim said as of 2019, it costs INEC about N170,000 to produce one PVC, and that the amount may have increased.

He was, however, immediately countered by Aisha Dukku, chairperson of the house committee on electoral matters, who raised a point of order, saying the production cost of one PVC is less than N1,000.

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After Dukku’s comment, Ibrahim withdrew his earlier statement on the production cost of the PVC.

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