Senate summons service chiefs over election postponement

Former INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega
Former INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega

The Nigerian Senate has summoned the nation’s service chiefs to explain the reasons security agencies were unavailable to provide security during the originally scheduled dates of elections.

The Senate made this decision at plenary after meting with the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, on Wednesday.

The Senate Minority Leader, George Akume, moved the motion that the service chiefs be invited for questioning after the INEC chairman said he could not answer some questions put to him.

The lawmaker representing Kwara central, Bukola Saraki, while speaking to reporters after the plenary, said it is necessary for the service chiefs to be summoned because there were only a handful of questions that Mr. Jega could answer.

Mr. Saraki said security issues relating to the elections could not be answered until the service chiefs are present.

“So we are still back to that issue of security,” Mr. Saraki said. “I think that further emphasizes what we were saying yesterday, that the Senate and the National Assembly still need to invite the service chiefs to give us assurance.

“He (Mr. Jega) said categorically that he cannot answer that question that we need to have the Service Chiefs to answer that question.

“If we keep on talking to Professor Jega, we cannot hold him responsible for that. What we can hold him responsible for, he has given a good explanation already.

“The most important thing is holding election on that day and the only person that can answer that as he said is that we should bring the service chiefs to answer that.

“So next week, we hope the leadership will do the right thing,” Mr. Saraki said.

Senators of the All Progressives Congress briefed the press on the need to summon the service chiefs to answer the security questions instead of Mr. Jega.

The lawmaker representing Osun central senatorial district, Olusola Adeyeye, said the service chiefs should be summoned for compelling INEC to postpone the elections.

He mentioned that the army did not have a right to influence the date of elections.

The elections were postponed from February 14 and February 28 to March 28 and April 11 because the Service Chiefs told the INEC Chairman the military would be unavailable to provide security.

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