INEC Hints on Likely Inability to Conduct Elections in 242 Polling Units

Based on a This Day news report, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday disclosed that 242 polling units with 142,261 registered voters in 10 Local Government Areas of Katsina State were under serious security threat. The commission’s head of the department of electoral operation in the state, Husseni Jaafar, who revealed this at a stakeholders’ meeting in Katsina, said the polling units may be affected in the forthcoming general elections. According to him, there were 13 local government areas under security threat and to ensure that all elections are held in all polling units of the state, monthly meetings are conducted with all the electoral officers of the LGAs following consultation with security officers and critical stakeholders in their respective local governments to discuss the prevailing situation.

Earlier, the United Kingdom had through its Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) alerted the public on possible terrorists’ attacks. Most attacks are carried out by Boko Haram or Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) and occur in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States in the Northeast. There have also been significant attacks in other states, including Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Bauchi, and Taraba States. The risk of terrorism across Nigeria includes the capital city Abuja, and the surrounding Federal Capital Territory area. Between May and July 2022 Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) has carried out several attacks in Kogi, Niger, and in the Federal Capital Territory. We note that this security alert came a few days after the U.S Embassy and consulate in Nigeria had warned that there was an elevated risk of terror attacks in Nigeria, specifically in Abuja.

We had earlier reported that the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, had ordered the increase of security activities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and announced the commencement of a counterterrorism operation and simulation exercise codenamed, “Operation Darkin Gaggawa”. However, inability of the government to guarantee security in the forthcoming 2023 elections will mean some of the citizens will be completely disenfranchised. We also believe there may be increased voters’ apathy if the security situation does not improve significantly before the elections.

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