By Omeiza Ajayi, ABUJA
The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC said it has concluded work on the expansion of voter access to Polling Units, promising to unveil the new units next week.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this on Monday in Abuja at the handing over of a new firefighting truck deployed in the Commission’s Headquarters by the Controller General of the Federal Fire Service FFS, Dr Ibrahim Alhaji Liman.
He said the demonstration of support from the fire service and other security agencies is coming on the eve of the resumption of the Continuous Voter Registration CVR nationwide which commences in the next three weeks.
“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise. I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.
“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week. Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centres and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week”, he stated.
Yakubu noted that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security ICCES, the Federal Fire Service has been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on INEC offices across the country.
“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalization”, he added.
Yakubu recalled that concerned by these incidents, the Commission had convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week at which the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the Commission to address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.
“For its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks. At the same time, it directed its State offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.
“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the Commission from the Federal Fire Service whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the Commission, will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other fire fighting equipment installed by INEC”, he added.