Thugs attacked three polling units and carted away five Bimodal Voter Authentication System, the Independent National Electoral Commission revealed on Saturday.
The INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, stated this while briefing journalists on the situation report in Abuja
Mahmood gave reasons why the opening of polling units was delayed by election officials.
He noted that insecurity in some states led to the delay as well as logistics issues.
The INEC chairman, who said that polling units in Niger, Delta and Katsina states were attacked by thugs and eight BVAS were carted away, noted that three BVAS were later recovered.
He explained, “One of the challenges identified is the inability of the commission in a number of places to open the polling units at the appointed time of 8:30 am. Some of the polling units opened late. But in line with our policy, any Nigerian, who is on the queue, will have the opportunity to vote no matter how long it takes until the last person on the queue before 2:30 pm votes.
“Some of the reasons why we could not open some of the polling units on time include; perennial problems of logistics in spite of our best efforts. I think we have conquered the challenge of getting election materials to various locations. Though there may be complaints here and there, generally speaking, we have delivered millions of ballot papers and result sheets that we are supposed to deliver for the election.
“But another contributing factor to the late opening of polling units is actually the perennial insecurity in the country. For instance, we could not deploy early enough to Alawa in Shiroro Local Government Area in Niger State. Bandits launched an attack, not necessarily on INEC offices or facilities but in the area. With the advice of the security agencies, we tarried a while but I am happy to say that we are able to deploy to Alawa and voting in that location is ongoing as we speak.
“Similarly, in the Oshimili LGA of Delta State, thugs attacked a polling unit and two BVAS machines were lost in the process. But again, determined that the election must continue, we were able to replace the stolen BVAS machine, reinforce security agencies and voting contained in that polling unit.
“Similarly, in the Safana LGA of Katsina State, thugs attacked one of our voting locations and snatched 6 BVAS machines. But again, we were able to recover and use the spare BVAS machines and reinforce security for voting to continue in that location. Happily, security agencies have recovered the BVAS machines but three are still held by the thugs.”
Yakubu noted that the attacks by these thugs were targeted at the BVAS.
He said, “So, in these locations, the target of attacks was actually the BVAS machines, no longer our ballot papers or ballot boxes.”