Thugs attacked two different polling areas in two states, stealing at least eight BVAS machines, INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu said, hours after voting commenced in many parts of Nigeria.
According to Mr Yakubu, bandits attacked INEC personnel, stealing six BVAS machines in Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State, President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state.
A separate attack occurred in the Oshimili area of Delta State leading to the loss of two BVAS machines, he said
Mr Yakubu, who briefed journalists in Abuja, said voting continued in the two polling areas after INEC’s intervention.
In the incident in Katsina State, three of the BVAS were later recovered while the rest of the missing machines were replaced, Mr Yakubu said.
“In Delta State, thugs attacked a polling unit and two BVAS machines were lost. In these locations, the targets of attacks were the BVAS, but we were able to recover them,” he said.
Mr Yakubu also spoke about an attack by bandits in the Shiroro area of Niger State that delayed the voting process. He said he was not sure if INEC officials were the primary target of the attack in an area that has witnessed several attacks by terrorists, locally called bandits.
Nobody was hurt in the incident and security arrangements were made to ensure the election still holds in the area, he said.
Mr Yakubu also acknowledged that there was a late arrival of electoral officials and materials in many polling units across Nigeria.
“The perennial problems of logistics and insecurity affected early deployment of voting materials. But we have been able to deliver millions of ballot papers,” he said.
He said the commission would resolve the problem by ensuring that anyone that was in the queue by 2:30 p.m. would be allowed to vote, “no matter how long it takes.”
Mr Yakubu explained that the twin problems of logistics and insecurity hampered the timely deployment of staff and materials.
The INEC boss said, “bandits were firing gunshots randomly from the mountains of Gwoza (Borno State)” in response to a question on security reports from the area. He said the commission was still studying the situation in the area.
At the briefing, Mr Yakubu also identified some local government areas in Abia and Imo states where the deployment of materials was delayed.
Earlier, PREMIUM TIMES reported delays in the movement of electoral officials and materials to polling units across Nigeria.
Over 87 million Nigerians are eligible to vote in the presidential and federal legislative elections held today.
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