Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC ), chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega, has informed that the Commission recorded the loss of over 200 card readers even as two of it offices were burnt down during the last senatorial and presidential elections in the state.
Jega who appealed to politicians to refrain from acts capable of truncating the electoral process by encouraging peaceful conduct of elections on April 11, made the appeal on Thursday in Makurdi during a meeting of stakeholders convened by INEC, said the scale of violence that was recorded in Benue during the Presidential and National Assembly polls was regrettable.
“The scale of destruction witnessed in Benue during the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly elections was incomparable with anything in any part of the country.
” The commission lost over 200 card readers and two of our offices were burnt down with one staff member.”
He said the stakeholders’ meeting was necessary to address electoral malpractices and issues capable of causing violence.
Jega expressed regret over the violence and said the commission had achieved milestones in the conduct of credible elections in the country.
He called on politicians to support the commission to improve its performance in future elections.
” It is our desire to have better polls in April 11; we therefore, appeal for your cooperation and calm during the elections.”
He assured the state that the 200 card readers that were destroyed would be replaced and urged politicians to ensure the safety of INEC officials and materials during the elections.
He warned against spilling of innocent blood during elections and charged the politicians to engage in good conduct.
Also, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of operations, Mr Sotonye Wakama, called on the electorate to report all cases of electoral malpractice to the security agencies.
The police chief also warned them against taking the laws into their hands.
He also called on them to use smart phones to document electoral malpractice.
A cross section of politicians expressed dismay over the unbecoming attitude of contestants who insisted on winning elections at all costs.
They called on the security agencies and INEC officials to be neutral in the discharge of their duties and use sanctions against erring staff.
Two incumbent senators, who were returned in the National Assembly election, Barnabas Gemade and George Akume, appealed to INEC to remain steadfast in declaring credible results.
They also appealed to security agencies to apply the law on all regardless of positions.