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NSA, IGP disagree over what happened during Kogi, Bayelsa elections

The National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Munguno on Wednesday described the November 16 governoship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states as a ‘fiasco where the unthinkable happened’.

The NSA was giving an assessment of the elections during a meeting of the Inter-Agencies Consultative Committee on Election Security with the Independent National Electoral Commission for 2019.

The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu however expressed a different opinion, insisting that the elections were relatively peaceful.

The NSA was represented by Sanusi Galadima, while the IGP was represented by Mishelia Makama at the meeting that held in Abuja.

Monguno said: “Violence erupted in Bayelsa and Kogi states. The violence that occurred in Kogi State after that election led to the death of a (Peoples Democratic Party) woman leader in that state.

“Despite the promises made prior to the two elections by the IACCES agencies – they made promises and told the meeting of the level of their preparedness, but unfortunately, the fiasco was the answer. What happened was quite unthinkable.

“For future elections, particularly the bye-elections that would come up in January 2020, all security agencies and political parties must come together to ensure that those elections are hitch-free.

“Our fear is that if nothing is done to curtail all these kinds of violence in future elections, voters will not even come out and vote.”

The IGP, on his part gave the number of arrests made in the two states during the elections, explaining that six suspects were arrested separately in connection with the PDP woman leader, Salome Abuh, who was burnt to death in her house in Kogi State.

He said: “As regards the woman leader that was hacked down, six suspects were arrested in view of that particular matter. Again, investigations are yet to be concluded. Once it is done, proper action would be taken.

“As regards the Bayelsa governorship election, policemen that were deployed there were about 31,041, but there were skirmishes of violence here and there. At the end of the day, some suspects were arrested.

“The suspects that were directly involved were arrested; about 35 of them were arrested in Bayelsa and are being interrogated by the Zonal Police Headquarters in Benin City.

“They will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded. In Kogi, a total of 35,200 policemen were deployed also for the same assignment and again there were some skirmishes of violence here and there, which at the end of the day left a woman leader dead.”

The Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, in his speech, said the deployment of security personnel in all future elections should be tied to specific locations and activities, adding that all security personnel deployed to polling units and collation centres should be identified by name as is the case with INEC officials.

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“This will not only enhance transparency, but the commission and security agencies will know who to contact in specific locations during elections when the need arises.

“They will also be held responsible for the proper conduct of elections in those locations.”

Yakubu also emphasized the need deepen the use of technology for the integrity of elections.

“The Senate Committee on INEC has already shared with the commission the Electoral Act amendment bill for our input. We are excited by some of the new provisions concerning electronic transmission of results.

“We are glad that the electoral legal framework is removing some of the encumbrances to the full deployment of technology for the improvement of the electoral process in Nigeria, especially result collation and management.

“The commission will work with the National Assembly for the expeditious passage of the amendment to the electoral legal framework so that work can begin in earnest to make future elections in Nigeria more technology-based. It is long overdue, it is doable, it is achievable and it is inevitable”, Yakubu said.

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