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CSO decries attacks on INEC offices

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Abuja, March 8, 2019 YIAGA AFRICA, a Civil Society group, has expressed concern over the  increasing reports of attacks on the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) materials and structures.

Dr Hussaini Abdu, Chairman, Watching The Vote Working Group at a news conference on YIAGA AFRICA’s pre-election report, also condemned attacks on INEC officials.

Abdu called on the security agencies to effectively deploy security personnel to properly secure INEC officials and election materials, especially during the March 9 elections.

He said that YIAGA AFRICA condemned the destruction of INEC office in Ibesikpo, Akwa Ibom.

The chairman said that the group was also concerned about the non-compliance with results collation guidelines by INEC officials especially Presiding Officers, Ward Collations Officers and Returning Officers.

“INEC should ensure collation centres are accessible to accredited observers.

“The form EC 40 G should be revised to include details for cancellation for every polling unit cancelled.

“ The current form only captures the name of the polling unit and the total number of registered voters affected without reasons for cancellation.

“To increase transparency of the collation process, INEC is encouraged to share Form EC40G series with party agents present during the different stages of the collation process,” he said.

Abdu urged the commission to fully comply with the electoral guideline for the conduct of the general election by posting Forms EC.60E series in all collation centers.

He said that the recommendation was made based on WTV presidential election observation findings of results not posted in 19 per cent of the observed sampled polling units.

He said that the group’s  presidential election observation noted the high percentage of cancelled ballots and called on INEC to ensure that the guidelines on cancelled ballots  were strictly adhered to so as to reduce discretion on the part of INEC officials.

He said that YIAGA AFRICA noted that during the Feb. 23 elections, card readers were not used throughout the process of accreditation of voters in some polling units.

According to him, that such infraction poses a threat to the integrity of the electoral process if not curtailed.

He urged INEC to ensure strict compliance to use of the card readers for voter accreditation, saying that polling officials who disregard the INEC guidelines and regulations should be sanctioned.

Abdu said that for the March 9 Governorship elections, YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote would not be deploying the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology.

He added that as such the group would  not be verifying the election day result but will be assessing the election day process at the polling units and collation centres.

Abdu called on the security agencies to ensure proper coordination especially between the military and police.

“It is important to note that the Police have the coordinating responsibility of election security and not the soldiers, as such proper lines of communication and rules of engagement should be adhered to,” he said.

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