On the morning of March 18th, a group of kidnappers abducted 19 INEC Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers (PO/APOs) in Imo State, Nigeria.
These ad-hoc staff were on their way to seven different polling units in Ugbelie ward 06 in Ideato South LGA of Imo State when they were forcefully taken hostage. The kidnappers also took possession of several sensitive materials, including BVAS and other election materials.
The kidnapping of these INEC ad-hoc staff and the theft of election materials were not only alarming but a significant threat to the democratic process in Nigeria.
Thankfully, the INEC ad-hoc staff’s abduction did not last long as the police operatives in Imo State acted swiftly to rescue them. According to Chinenye Chijioke-Osuji, the spokesperson for the electoral commission in the state, the kidnapped staff were able to alert the authorities and send out a distress call.
The police were able to track the kidnappers’ location and successfully rescue the 19 ad-hoc staff members.
The prompt intervention of the police in Imo State deserves commendation as it prevented a potentially disastrous situation. The security operatives ensured that the INEC ad-hoc staff were reunited with their families and friends, and the stolen election materials were recovered.
However, the incident has once again brought to the fore the need for improved security measures in Nigeria’s electoral process.