The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has transferred the documents and materials utilized in the November 11 Kogi State governorship election from its Lokoja office, the state capital, to Abuja,Daily Trust reports.
According to reports, Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, the National Chairman of INEC, ordered the relocation of the election materials for security reasons. Under heavy security, the electoral materials were loaded into at least four trucks on Friday afternoon and transported to the Federal Capital Territory.
The items transported to Abuja include election results, BVAS, and other pertinent sensitive documents used in the election.
An anonymous INEC official revealed that the directive came from higher authorities to facilitate the smooth functioning of the Kogi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal. The official stated, “The materials used in prosecuting the November 11 governorship election are no longer safe here (in Kogi) because of incessant attacks on INEC officials, offices, and tribunal members by thugs sponsored by unknown politicians. Therefore, the commission ordered the removal of the materials to a safe place.”
Due to security threats in Lokoja, the tribunal had previously relocated its sitting to the National Judicial Council complex in Jabi, Abuja.
Both INEC and the Kogi State Police Command confirmed the attack on INEC’s office in Lokoja and the threat to the safety of the electoral materials used in the election through separate statements. The attack on the INEC office occurred on December 1, 2023, with suspected thugs causing property damage during a 30-minute gun battle. Additionally, gunmen attacked the residence of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Dr Hale Longpet.
Moreover, the Secretary of the Kogi State Election Petitions Tribunal, David Mike, recently faced an ambush and was almost beaten severely while en route to court. The thugs seized petition documents during the incident.