Armed gunmen on Friday attacked the residence of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lokoja, Kogi State Dr. Hale Gabriel Longpet. The attack is coming days after the electoral body in the state raised an alarm that its State Headquarters in Lokoja was under siege by a mob
Armed gunmen on Friday attacked the residence of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lokoja, Kogi State Dr. Hale Gabriel Longpet. The attack is coming days after
the electoral body in the state raised an alarm that its State Headquarters in Lokoja was under siege by a mob that barricaded all entrances to the office and prevented access for staff to carry out routine duties.
Confirming the incident, on Friday, Spokesperson for the INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi on an INEC verified WhatsApp platform said: “the armed men engaged the security personnel in a gun battle for over 30 minutes until reinforcement arrived.
The Police in Kogi has confirmed reported attack on the residence of INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Dr Gabriel Longpet.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Bethrand Onuoha, who confirmed the attack in Lokoja on Friday, described the incident as very unfortunate and wicked. Onuoha, explained that the attackers came to the residence around 3.00am of Friday but met stiff resistance from security operatives.
The joy of it all is that the hoodlums did not succeed in their nefarious act as my officers gallantly repelled their attack and burnt the vehicle they came with.
“Right now there are soldiers stationed in the house alongside our personnel to keep watch and ensure safety.
Two days ago, on Wednesday, Dr. Hale Gabriel Longpet, the Resident Electoral Commissioner informed the public in a statement of a siege on its state Secretariat in Kogi which prevented counsels representing political parties involved in the recent off-cycle governorship election from inspecting documents/materials used in the election.
“It took the intervention of the Nigerian Army to calm the situation down at the State Headquarters. The security agencies have assured us that they will maintain normalcy on our premises.
“We assure all parties and litigants that the Kogi State office is committed to granting unimpeded access to all materials needed to prosecute their petitions”, Dr. Longpet said.
Again, in the early hours of today, Friday 1st December 2023, around 3.30am, gunmen attacked the residence of our Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Lokoja, Kogi State.
Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi on an INEC verified WhatsApp platform said: “the armed men engaged the security personnel in a gun battle for over 30 minutes until reinforcement arrived.
“While no lives were lost, property was destroyed in the ensuing gun battle. A team of combined security personnel have been deployed to protect the residence.This incident occurred a day after a mob besieged our state office.
“We call for a thorough investigation and enhanced security protection for our personnel and assets in Kogi State.
Mr. Oyekanmi attached a photograph of a burnt vehicle to the statement. He, however, did not explain whether it belonged to the invading gunmen.
Meanwhile, the electoral body on Thursday responded to a Freedom of Information request made by former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Osita Chidoka, requesting the figures on accredited persons extracted from the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) after the off cycle elections.
“I request the accreditation data generated by the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines used during the elections in Imo, Bayelsa, and Kogi states,” Mr. Chidoka wrote in the letter addressed to the INEC Chairman, a copy of which was posted on his X handle.
He requested that the data should include detailed accreditation figures for all polling units, as well as aggregated totals for each Registration Area (Wards), Local Government Area (LGA), and the respective states.
Mr Chidoka on Thursday took to his X page to disclose that the electoral commission had responded to his letter by providing him with the requested details.
INEC’s response includes the BVAS accreditation for all of the polling units where elections take place during the elections.
It was accompanied by a certification letter from the commission’s Information Communications Technology (ICT) department, according to the copies posted by Mr Chidoka.
“I hereby identify/certify that the document hereunder being data generated from the Computer of the ICT Department of the Independent National Electoral Commission Headquarters Abuja with respect to Voter Accreditation figures for the 11 and 12 November, 2023 Governorship Election in Bayelsa State, was produced during a period over which the computer was used regularly to store or process information concerning the activities of the commission including electoral activities,” INEC Assistant Director, Shiaka Aminetu, wrote in the certification letter accompanying the data.
In his post, Mr Chidoka, who was the director of Voter Intelligence, Strategy and Policy Analyst of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, appreciated the commission, noting that the response marks a significant milestone in Nigeria’s pursuit of transparent and accountable governance.
He said he had also commenced work on digitising and visualising the report.
“This unprecedented compliance by INEC is a testament to what can be achieved through persistent efforts and the courage to venture into uncharted territories,” he said.
“This act signifies a hopeful beginning in our collective effort to ensure that government agencies are not just answerable to the law but also to the people they serve.”
The Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had adjourned sitting on Tuesday to allow for the completion of inspection of BVAS and other election materials by the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
At its resumed hearing on Wednesday in Lokoja, the SDP through its lead counsel, Mr John Adele (SAN), informed the tribunal that INEC was co-operating with the inspection of materials as ordered by the tribunal.
He, however , requested for more time to complete the inspection.
The tribunal had during its first sitting on Saturday, November 25 ordered the INEC to allow for the forensic inspection election materials by the SDP within 48 hours.
The materials include Bimodal Voter Accreditation System(BVAS) and result sheets for Adavi, Okene, Okehi, Ogori-Magongo, Ajaokuta, Lokoja, Kogi and Bassa Local Government Areas.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ado Birnin-Kudu gave the order following two ex-parte motions filed on Nov. 19 by the SDP and its governorship candidate, Alhaji Muritala Yakubu-Ajaka.
Justice Birnin-Kudu at the resumed hearing adjourned pending when the inspection of materials would have been completed.
Lead counsel to the petitioners, Mr John Adele (SAN), had earlier told the court that efforts to obtain Certified True Copies (CTC) of materials used in the six local government areas from INEC had been fruitful, except for some hitch, leading to delay in meeting with the 48hours.
The SDP and Muritala Yakubu are challenging the victory of APC and its candidate, Alhaji Usman Ododo at the election petition tribunal.
Usman Ododo won the election with 446,237 votes, while his closest rival, Yakubu-Ajaka got 259,052 votes.