The Independent National Electoral Commission on Tuesday said it suffered 50 attacks on its offices across the country between 2019 and 2022.
Out of the figure, it said 11 attacks were recorded in Imo State alone.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, disclosed this during a virtual meeting organised by the International Press Centre with support from the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria.
The meeting was meant to enhance the capacity of journalists on conflict-sensitive reporting ahead of the general elections.
“Between 2019 and last year (2022), we had 50 unprovoked attacks on our offices and we lost many staff members.
“In 2020, we had 22 unprovoked attacks, in 2021 there were 12 attacks and in 2022, there were eight attacks. The attacks were spread across Osun, Ogun, Lagos, Ondo, Bayelsa, Abia, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Anambra Ebonyi, Kaduna, Taraba, and Borno States. Of all these states, we had 11 attacks in Imo,” he said.
Oyekanmi said the commission relied on the collaboration of the media to succeed in the election.
He added, “18 political parties are fielding a total of 15,333 candidates for all the elections on offer and we are talking about 1,491 constituencies where elections will be conducted.
“We now have 93.4698 million registered voters. These voters are registered in a total of 176,846 polling units nationwide.”
He disclosed that the commission is not interested in the ethnic or religious backgrounds of registrants but in strengthening democracy.
“When you begin to introduce religion and ethnicity, you put INEC staff members in a difficult situation. When you report facts, it helps the commission but when you don’t report right, it could endanger the lives of our staff members,” he added.
Also, a lecturer at the Bayero University, Kano, Dr Rukayatu Aliyu, said the media has a critical role to play in ensuring a peaceful electioneering process.
The Executive Director, Centre for Information Technology and Development, Yunusa Zakari, said it was important for journalists to know the difference between hate speech and sensitive content.