Ondo2020: INEC Flags 270 Coastal Polling Units as Hotspots

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Ondo2020: INEC Flags 270 Coastal Polling Units as Hotspots
Nwolu Obiajulu

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed plans to utilise the country’s security outfits to quell threats to the peaceful conduct of the Ondo State governorship election especially in riverine areas and other hotspots in the state.

According to INEC, Ondo has 62 creeks and over 270 Polling Units in the fluvial areas of Ese-Odo and Ilaje Local Government Areas of the state.

Festus Okoye, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee told Punch in an interview that the commission has enlisted the services of the Nigerian Navy and Marine Police safeguard the personnel and materials to hotspots.

He said the commission would deploy all of its assets to prevent rigging and violence in the October 10 election.

Conduct of election in fluvial communities had posed challenges to the commission in previous elections in the state, given their peculiarities and difficulties encountered in navigating the terrain.

To stem the tide, Okoye said, “The police, Navy and other security agencies have been mandated to engage in clearance operation and flush out groups and individuals that threaten the peace of the state and the electoral process especially in the creeks and other black spots.

“More than 270 of our Polling Units are in the riverine areas of Ese-Odo and Ilaje Local Governments, with over 62 creeks, and we are in touch with the Nigerian Navy and the Marine Police for the purpose of protecting and escorting our personnel and materials to these difficult terrains.

“We will continue to appeal to the political parties and the candidates to eschew violence.”

Okoye referenced Section 29(3) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) which empowers the commission to request the assistance of any section of the Armed Forces for the delivery and protection of its staff and materials during elections.

He added, “We shall request for the assistance of the Navy for escort in the riverine areas, and the Army will block the entrance and exit out of Ondo State on election day.”

This post was written by Nwolu Obiajulu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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