INEC seeks NAF assistance to deploy personnel, materials

Yakubu said with the return of peace to Borno , many displaced Nigerians, before and during the last general elections, had returned to their homes.

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INEC Chairman, Prof. Mamood Yakubu, made the request when he led the commission’s management to a courtesy visit on the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on Thursday in Abuja.

Yakubu said that with the return of peace to Borno and the North East states, many Nigerians previously in Internally Displaced Camps, before and during the last general elections, had returned to their homes.

He said that while peace had been restored to the North East states and many people had returned to their towns and villages, INEC had challenges in deploying its personnel and materials in five local government areas in Borno.

The areas, according to him, are Damboa, Chibok, Goza, Bama, and Gala/Balge.

“The challenge is not in the local government headquarters but the road leading to the local government headquarters.

“We have been largely informed that the areas are risky, in the sense that the insurgents, in some instances, manned these roads.

“We are all aware of the incident that happened last week involving some of our very senior officers in the Army.

“It is on these reasons and out of our desire to ensure that every Nigerian is given opportunity, that we are approaching the Air Force to assist INEC in respect of these five LGAs.

“ We appeal to the Air Force, in the interest of our democracy and father land, to deploy our national assets at your disposal to enable us achieve this great responsibility,’’ Yakubu said.

The INEC Chairman said that the commission would be grateful if the NAF could grant the request as it was the desire of the commission that all Nigerians be bio-metrically captured.

Responding Air Marshal Abubakar pledged the readiness of the force to partner with INEC for safe deployment of INEC’s staff and materials.

He said that the NAF would be happy to get involved and support INEC in whatever way that would make the exercise a success.

“Not only will we be able to move your personnel and equipment to these LGAs headquarters, I think our presence there would also confer some security to your personnel in carrying out their assignment.

“We have the assets and we will give you every support needed to carry out the exercise,’’ Abubakar said.

He also promised the force’s readiness to assist INEC in future election not only in Borno but in any part of the country.

“In the future we have the C130 aircraft which is a cargo aircraft that can move item from Lagos to any other part of the country.

“We are always willing once we get your request to move the items to where you desire to have them,’’ he added.

The chief added that the force was always ready to partner with any government agency, using the national assets at its disposal.

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