We Did Our Best for INEC, Say Military, Police - FOW 24 NEWS

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We Did Our Best for INEC, Say Military, Police

Nigeria’s security agencies: the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Army, who are members of the Logistics Committee, set up by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the general election, have explained their roles in the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections last Saturday.....

The Logistics Committee was charged with the responsibility of facilitating the distribution of election’s materials on or before the Election Day.

Insiders in the INEC Headquarters in Abuja also spoke with THISDAY yesterday relating the commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu’s, resistance to attempt to stagger the election.

Yakubu, while addressing a press conference on Saturday, cited ‘’logistics problems’’ as reason for the deferment of the presidential election to February 23, while the governorship and state House of Assembly was fixed for March 9.

However, explaining its role in the election, the Nigeria Police Force said yesterday that it did what was expected of it to ensure smooth conduct of the election, exonerating the force from any blame.

‘’We were ready for the election; we did our deployment 72 hours before the election. We did all we could do; what happened was quite unfortunate and it is a huge cost to the Nigeria Police Force; we cannot be blamed,’’ the spokesman for the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, Mr. Frank Mba, told THISDAY.

Explaining the burning of some INEC’s materials in states like Plateau, Abia, and Anambra, he said some persons have been arrested and are being interrogated.

In Plateau State for instance, Mba said the matter was still being investigated, saying the suspect told the police that it was the fire he set on the nearby refuse that affected the building that the materials were being kept.

In the case of Anambra State, he told THISDAY that 16 persons have been arrested and are being interrogated over the incident, while three persons are being interrogated in the case of Abia State.

He said the Anambra case in particular, was shocking, stating, however, that immediately the incident happened, the police sealed off the area and arrested some suspects.

‘’As security agents, we did all we were supposed to do to assist the INEC in carrying out its task,’’ he said.

Also speaking with THISDAY yesterday, military authorities said that they were not to be blamed for the logistics challenges that led to the postponement of the polls.

The Nigerian Air Force, Navy and Army were involved in the airlift and distribution of electoral materials for the election.

THISDAY checks, however, revealed that the military was blamed for not taking direct instruction from INEC officials but instead preferred to stick to directives from the military high command.

But the military held that it had no business with distribution of electoral materials but was only acting in aid of civil authority as expected of them.

The Defence spokesman, Brigadier-General John Agim, said: “We have no business with that. The military had no business with the distribution of electoral materials. Our effort was to aid the civil authority to ensure a successful election and that should not be misconstrued.’’

In his reaction, the Navy spokesman, Navy Commander Suleiman Dahun, challenged critics to name areas where the Navy failed to deliver electoral materials. Nigerian Navy airlifted election materials to riverine areas in Bayelsa, Delta, using naval helicopters.

“They should be specific. Tell us where we did not deliver so we can take you on that. That is a generalised statement,” Dahun said.

Nigerian Air Force spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, could not be reached on phone but a top NAF source, who spoke anonymously, said INEC had four years to prepare for the election but only approached NAF three days to election.

The source said: “All of us at the NAF are pissed off; but because it is government to government, we don’t want to go there.

“They had four years to do this planning and we kept telling them that we are available if they need our help, but they probably thought they could do it on their own. They only approached us three days to election.”

The source added: “Many of our officers slept at different airports for many days. There was severe bad weather for two days but we were able to deliver.

“Where they had issues, which they did not factor in, we were conveying materials by road to voting centers. In the air force, logistics is a core issue that we are familiar with.

“The Chief of Air Staff had meetings with Air Officers Commanding and we informed INEC of our readiness. They should have known that we have been doing these things.”

The source further noted that it was not the responsibility of NAF to distribute electoral materials.

The source explained further: “We are simply aiding them to ensure the success of elections. The C130 was used because it is a transport plane. Other aircraft were used to the point that seats had to be removed for it to contain the materials.

“But in spite of that they (INEC) did not appreciate our efforts and they are even trying to shift blame. They had four years to do this and they are the ones who had the funding not NAF.”
We Did Our Best for INEC, Say Military, Police Reviewed by FOW 24 News on February 18, 2019 Rating: 5 Nigeria’s security agencies: the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Army, who are members of the Logisti...

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