The Independent National Electoral Commission has raised an alarm of thugs being mobilized to perpetrate violence in the governorship elections scheduled to take place in Kogi and Bayelsa States in November.
Speaking at the quarterly meeting of the inter-agency consultative committee on election security (ICCES) in Abuja, INEC’s chairman Yakubu Mahmood said the risk assessment will be shared with security agencies as some flash points have already been identified.
He said: “There are already warning signals in the two sates (which) are politically volatile. Our own risk assessment which will be shared with the security agencies at this meeting has identified some flash points.
“We are also concerned that thugs have been mobilised from within and outside the states with the aim of either influencing the elections or disrupting the process on behalf of partisan sponsors.
“This calls for a robust response before the elections, on election day and during the process of collation and declaration of results.”
“If that happens, many Nigerians will blame the electoral umpire and the security agencies. We must continue to rise to this challenge.
“Over the last seven months, we have been working assiduously to ensure that we conduct credible elections. We cannot undermine the processes we have so laboriously established.
“We have been reassured by the security agencies that election day activities at polling units and collation centres will not be disrupted by the activities of hoodlums neither will thugs be allowed to cart away results sheets or compel our returning officers to make declarations under duress.
“We are equally re-assured that security personnel will adhere strictly to the standard operational guidelines and deal decisively with misconduct by their personnel on election duty,” Mahmood added.