A senior analyst in the Extremism Policy Unit of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Bulama Bukarti, on Thursday expressed doubt on the conduct of the 2023 general elections over heightened insecurity in the country.
Bulama, who featured in a Channels Television’s programme, Politics Today, expressed fear that non-state actors like the Boko Haram, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and bandits may disrupt the elections.
He also shared facts from a report on the elections recently published by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
He said: “These three groups will in different ways seek to disrupt Nigeria’s election and they might cause serious disruption if urgent action is not taken. For example in the case of Boko Haram, one of their articles of faith or one of the pillars of Boko Haram ideology is rejecting democracy and they vowed to disrupt Nigeria’s democracy. They attempted it in the past in 2011, and 2019; and they will make the same effort in 2023.”
Bulama recalled that Boko Haram forced the Federal Government to postpone the 2015 general elections by six weeks after security forces and intelligence agencies said they could not guarantee the security of voters and election officials in the North-East.
He also noted that IPOB since 2020 has attacked at least 19 Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) facilities in the South-East.
The analyst added: “IPOB on its part picked arms in 2020 and it’s, therefore, a new security threat that has emerged since the 2019 elections. IPOB has in particular has between June 2020 and June 2021 attacked 19 different INEC facilities. And they have done more in the past three months.
“The eastern security network some people called unknown gunmen have been deliberately and systematically attacking INEC, destroying critical election infrastructure and that will undermine INEC’s capacity to go on with the elections.
“Bandits on the other hand have expanded and grown in sophistication. We know that bandits may not deliberately decide to disrupt the elections, but they may abduct election officials to extort ransom. Some of the rural areas in the North-West and North-Central are under the control of bandits.”
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