There have been 50 attacks against electoral commission offices across the country between 2019 and 2022.
Nigeria’s general election at the end of February could be canceled or postponed if insecurity is not addressed, the electoral commission said.
“If insecurity is not monitored and dealt with decisively, it could ultimately culminate in the cancellation and/or postponement of elections in enough constituencies to hamper the declaration of the election results,” said Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, president of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). ) of the Board of Directors of the Electoral Institute, on Monday.
President Muhammadu Buhari, resigning after two terms, leaves office without addressing insecurity that has continued for 13 years due to armed groups such as Boko Haram in the northeast, rising kidnappings and killings by bandits and herdsmen in the central and northwestern states, as well as separatist tensions in the southeast.
This could “precipitate [a] constitutional crisis,” he said, adding that it “must not be allowed to happen and will not be allowed to happen” ahead of the February 25 vote. Security personnel and election officials had to be fully equipped to deal with “any challenge at all times,” he said.
Zuru spoke on behalf of INEC President Mahmood Yakubu at the validation of election security training resources in the capital Abuja, according to local newspaper The Cable.
However, he stated that Nigeria’s national security adviser, Mohammed Babagana Monguno, and the president of INEC had “jointly assured the nation that an enabling environment will be provided for [the] successful completion of the 2023 general elections”.
“The Commission leaves nothing to chance to ensure extensive and intensive security is provided for electoral personnel, materials and processes,” he said.
The threats facing Nigeria are multiple and widespread.
On Saturday, gunmen attacked a train station in the southern state of Edo, kidnapping around 30 people and injuring others.
Kidnapping has become a serious problem, with “bandits” carrying out mass kidnappings, mainly in the northwest, although the violence has spread to other regions.
INEC recorded 50 attacks on its offices between 2019 and 2022 in election-related violence, as well as protests and non-election-related crime.
In July last year, gunmen shelled a prison on the outskirts of Abuja, freeing hundreds of inmates in an attack claimed by allied ISIL (ISIS) fighters.
The United States ordered the families of the diplomats to leave Abuja in October due to what it called an “increased risk of terrorist attacks” in the capital.
Authorities later said they had tightened security.
Eighteen candidates are vying to replace Buhari, including Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party, Atiku Abubakar of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labor Party (LP).