The Independent National Electoral Commission on Friday said at least 70, 000 persons that were internally displaced by Boko Haram terrorists from their communities would be casting their votes in camps located within Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
At least 16 of 27 local government areas in the state were sacked by Boko Haram terrorists who forced residents to flee into the state capital. A large chunk of them are refugees outside the borders of Nigeria.
Addressing journalists on his agency’s preparation of the elections, the Borno state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Samuel Usman, said most of the IDPs who did not register in camps, but chose to stay with their relatives would also be voting at designated voting centres allocated for their local government areas.
Mr. Samuel said, “We have a total number of 1, 838, 514 registered voters in Borno state. And we have received 1,763, 860 PVCs, out of which 1, 417, 450 have been distributed, and we have over 18, 000 PVCs that has not been delivered to the state yet.
“Out of the registered voters, a total of 70, 485 persons would be voting in the camps as IDPs that were displaced from 16 local government areas of Borno state.
“On the level of preparedness, all sensitive election material were released to the state INEC by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) since Wednesday, and most of which has since been deployed to their various electoral areas within and outside the state capital.
We are super ready for tomorrow’s (Saturday) election and we have the cooperation of the security operatives so far.
“We have 12 local government that are under the high risk areas; while we have 10 that are relatively safe and five that are safe for the conduct of elections.”
He disclosed that “a total number of 300 election observers were deployed from Abuja for the election.
There are 3928 registration areas (polling units) in the state, and according to Mr. Usman, each unit would get a card reader. Five thousand of the device have been deployed to the state.
As the people of the state gears up to vote Saturday, security agencies in the state have reviewed the curfew hours from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. to allow for preparations for the elections.
Meanwhile, a former Borno state governor, Ali Modu Sheriff has called for peace during and after the conduct of the coming election.
In a statement Friday, he called on residents to take advantage of the peace that has returned to vote for President Goodluck Jonathan who ensured the military liberated the towns formerly under Boko Haram control.
“By the grace of God, I was made to understand that Gwoza is liberated. This is a good news and so, I want to thank particularly, Mr. president for making sure Borno is taking back to its former glorious name of the ‘home of peace’ through the gallant efforts of our security forces,” Mr. Sheriff said.