NASS meets with INEC chairman, security chiefs over Anambra poll

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Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on INEC would on Thursday meet with the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu.

Also expected at the meeting are all heads of security agencies.

The meeting was said to have been scheduled to discuss the level of preparedness for the governorship election in Anambra State.

Senate Committee Chairman on INEC, Senator Kabiru Gaya, told reporters that the meeting became imperative because of the security situation in the state and its effect on the election outcome.

He stated that INEC has increased the polling units in Anambra from 4,608 to 5,720 to allow better accessibility by the electorate.

The fear, according to Senator Gaya, remained that there were possibilities that the violence currently rocking the state might mar the poll.

In his remarks, Professor Yakubu informed the lawmakers that the commission was prepared for the election scheduled to hold on November 6.

“We have successfully carried out 12 of the 14 activities we should do, the only outstanding activities are on the last day of campaigns by political parties which are going to be in the next eight days, and the election proper on the 6th of November,” he said.

“We have recovered from the series of attacks on our facilities, and I am happy to say that we have deployed all relevant materials not only to Awka but all the local government areas.

“We have trained the requisite number of ad-hoc staff for the election and we have also mobilised the transport owners for logistics. As far as INEC is concerned, we are prepared.”

As at the time of filing this report, the security chiefs were yet to arrive at the meeting venue, nor had any of their representatives addressed the committee.

▪︎Threatened By Violence?

Recent violent events in Anambra have forced many Nigerians to doubt the possibility of conducting a free and fair election in the state, barely two weeks later.

In a bid to ensure that the state is safe enough to allow citizens vote freely, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, ordered the deployment of Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Joseph Egbunike, and some Assistant Commissioners of Police in a bid to overhaul and improve security in Anambra.

He also ordered the deployment of over 34,000 personnel to the state, while three helicopters would be deployed for surveillance during the election.

There are also other trained animals and equipment that will be used for monitoring when the election gets underway, a statement by the Force spokesman, Frank Mba, said.

Baba, in a recent interview, stated that the police would collaborate with other security agencies and INEC to ensure the conduct of a peaceful election in the state.

According to him, the Force will do everything within its power to work with all stakeholders to protect democratic values, provide a level playing field for all political actors, and ensure adequate protection of voters, INEC personnel and equipment, as well as accredited observers among others.

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