POLITICS TODAY

Nigerian Political News Media
2023 polls: INEC boss echoes army chief’s fears over 137 unguarded Northern boarders

…Rues continued killings in Southeast, insurgency in Northeast

The Independent National Electoral Commission has expressed fear of elections in the South-East, North-West and North-East region of the country being hampered by insecurity.

Speaking at an event organized by National Endowment for Democracy and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems at the NED Headquarters, Washington DC, United States of America, INEC Chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmood noted that while insecurity has spread to some parts of the country, he has received assurances from the service chiefs that they would secure the voting environment during the 2023 polls.

The INEC chairman’s fear is coming not long after the Chief of Defence Staff in the Nigerian army, Lucky Irabo raised similar alarm at a function organised by the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs.

The INEC boss told the Washington confab attendees: “Are there concerns about the 2023 general election? I’ll be the last to say there are no concerns. The first concern is the perennial issue of insecurity in different parts of the country, compounded by the traditional issues of thuggery during elections organized by some of the political actors.

“I say it is a perennial issue because, at the end of the day, it is nothing new. However, the dimension of the insecurity is concerning in the sense that in the past, it was localized or confined to a particular part of the country, the northeast. But now, it is more widespread and we are keeping our eyes, particularly on the northwest and the southeastern parts of the country.

“Elections are conducted by human beings. We worry about the security of our officials, voters and the materials to be deployed. Without them, we cannot conduct elections. We have spoken to the security agencies and they have assured us that the situation will improve before the elections.
“So, fingers crossed. Those who are supposed to secure the environment have assured us that they will secure the environment for us to conduct elections. Our responsibility is to conduct elections.”
The Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor has said that 137 out of about 261 borders in the north-east and north-west regions of the country are unguarded.
He said this known yesterday while delivering a lecture on “security, defence & development in Nigeria” at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) in Lagos.
Irabor said the porous borders accounted for the easy access of terrorists from neighbouring countries into Nigeria to wreak mayhem.
“Our borders are largely unmanned. The penetrability of our vast unmanned land areas – the north-east and north-west zones, particularly Borno, Yobe, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina states – with neighbouring countries such as Niger Republic and Chad among others has continued to be a key source of criminality and violent crimes in those parts of the country,” he said.

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