How eight Borno local govts ravaged by Boko Haram will vote – INEC

Cross section of IDPs
Cross section of IDPs

Over 400,000 registered voters in eight Borno local governments must vote in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in order to partake in the general elections.

This figure is about 20 per cent of the total 2.3 million registered voters in the state.

Many of the 409,813 voters affected are already living in the IDP camps after they were displaced from their homes by the Boko Haram.

This was disclosed by the electoral commission, INEC, on Wednesday in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

In some of the eight local governments, the voting will be done in the IDP camps in the local government headquarters. In others, the voting will be done in IDP camps in local governments in and around Maiduguri.

The decision was taken based on the security situation in the Boko Haram ravaged communities, the electoral commission said.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced in Borno by the Boko Haram insurgency since 2009.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said over 59,000 people have been displaced in the North-east, mainly in Borno State, since November 2018.

“Since November, we have seen 59,200 displaced,” IOM Nigeria’s Chief of Mission, Frantz Celestin said, noting that in the last two years, “we have not seen that many people on the move.”

About 100,000 people have also died from the insurgency since 2009, according to the Borno government.

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Official Speaks

The Borno INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Muhammed Ibrahim, provided the voting details at an interactive session organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) for election officials, civil society organisations, political parties and journalists.

He said the eight local government areas affected by INEC’s decision are: Abadam, Guzamala, Marte, Dikwa, Gamboru-Ngala, Kukawa and Mobbar and Kalabalge.

Borno, in North-eastern Nigeria, has 27 local government areas.

According to him, every local government, irrespective of the security situation there, has registered voters.

He gave the breakdown of registered voters (IDPs) from these communities and where they are expected to vote.

“In Abadam, 45,707 registered voters will vote at the IDP camp located in Mohammed Goni College of Legal and Islamic Studies, Maiduguri.

“In Guzamala, 36, 669 registered voters will vote in Monguno IDP camp.

“In Marte, 61,802 registered voters will vote in Bakasi camp Maiduguri and GGSS Monguno.

“In Dikwa, 52,395 registered voters will vote in Dikwa Central Primary School and Shehu Sanda Kyarimi school in Dikwa.

“For Gamboru-Ngala, 64,488 registered voters will vote in Ngala Central Primary School and at the International Arabic School in Ngala.

“The 60, 678 registered voters of Kukawa will vote in Teacher’s Village Maiduguri.

”The 44,705 registered voters from Mobbar will vote in Central Primary School in Damasak and Zanna Umurti Ajari Primary School.

”In Kalabalge, we have 43,489 registered voters. That of Kalabalge is still not certain because the stakeholders are still divided on where to hold the election. Some say it should be in Rann while others said it should be in Gamboru. I have told them that they should finalise on that by Friday,” he said.

Voters strength, Uncollected PVCs

Mr Ibrahim also said INEC has registered 2,315,956 voters in Borno who are expected to participate in the polls.

He said INEC in the last two years, registered over 504, 000 new voters whose Permanent Voters Card (PVC) have been produced and are available for collection.

But the official said over 300,000 PVCs are yet to be collected.

“We started the continuous voter registration in April 2017 and it was concluded on the 31st of December 2018,” the REC said.

“During the registration exercise, we registered 504,000 new voters which of course was (were) added to our former existing registered voters of about 1.8 million.

“The PVCs were printed and delivered to Borno State. We have since allowed people to come for collection of their PVCs. Initially, we had issues with people not coming to collect. But with adequate publicity, we now have up to 300,000 out of the 500, 000 that are yet to be collected now.

“But we hope in the next three days, people will come out to collect their PVCs,” he said.

The REC also said the commission has engaged and trained 22,000 electoral officials that would be deployed to all the designated polling units in the state.

Concerns

Mr Ibrahim expressed concern that some ‘stakeholders’ in the local government areas whose elections are to hold in IDP camps, “are yet to officially communicate to INEC where they want INEC to conduct the election”.

Meanwhile, the Borno State director of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Yahaya Imam, in a goodwill message, said the agency has carried out awareness campaigns on electoral violence and voter education.

He also said his agency has sensitised the public to resist vote buying.

A civil society activist in Borno State, Ahmed Shehu, called on INEC to deploy enough personnel and election materials for the exercise.

He also implored the media to refrain from declaring election results before official announcement by INEC.

Key governorship candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were not at the session.

Other governorship candidates who attended raised concerns on the independence of INEC and the contoversial issue of voting in IDP camps.

Chairman of NUJ, Babashek Haruna, said the interactive session was to engender a better electoral process and hitchfree 2019 election.

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