The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has relocated all materials related to the Kogi State governorship election to Abuja, following directives from the National Chairman of the Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu. This decision, driven by security considerations, involved the use of multiple trucks under strict security measures to transport election items, including results and BVAS, to the nation’s capital.
An INEC official, speaking anonymously to Daily Trust, confirmed that the directive originated from higher authorities and aimed to facilitate the smooth operation of the Kogi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal. The source explained, “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.”
Earlier reports had highlighted the tribunal’s decision to relocate its sitting to the National Judicial Council complex in Jabi, Abuja, due to security threats in Lokoja.
The security challenges faced by INEC in Kogi were underscored by attacks on its office in Lokoja and threats to the safety of electoral materials used in the election, as confirmed by both INEC and the Kogi State Police Command in separate statements. The attack on the INEC office and the residence of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state occurred on December 1, 2023, with no reported loss of life but significant property damage during the ensuing gun battle.
In another incident, thugs ambushed the Secretary of the Kogi State Election Petitions Tribunal, David Mike, on his way to court, nearly beating him and seizing petition documents. These incidents have prompted heightened security measures and the relocation of election materials to ensure their safety and the integrity of the electoral process.