The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Nigeria Police Force have reacted to the said attack on Lagos Catholic Church, Friday, 29th July, 2022.
Some thugs have invaded St. Brigid Catholic Church ljesha, Surulere Lagos, allegedly carted away with registration machines and disrupted officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission from registering people for the permanent voter card (PVC).
As at the time of filing this report, the Parish Priest of the church reportedly locked up the church while people who came out to get registered scampered for safety.
A resident of the area who pleaded anonymity told Vanguard that the thugs invaded the venue, saying they wouldn’t be allowed to register because they won’t vote for their (thugs) candidate.
He claimed they destroyed INEC materials and carted away some registration items.
He added that the police have been mobilised to the area to prevent further breakdown of law and order.
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The incident happened less than 72 hours before the CVR’s closure by INEC.
Another eyewitness who identified herself as Dr. Ambassador Princess Okojie Igbemudia said the thugs stormed the church and disrupted the exercise because those registering will vote for Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party.
It was learnt that the police had been deployed to the area to ensure peace and order.
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Reacting, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos State, said that thugs did not cart away its voter enrollment machines in Surulere as reported.
INEC’s Public Relations Officer in Lagos state, Mrs Adenike Oriowo told NAN that though the exercise was disrupted because of the surge, no machine was stolen.
“There were issues in the said CVR centre but orderliness was restored and the exercise continued smoothly.
“We have moved the registration in that centre to another polling unit in the area, and our officials have continued with the registration.
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“People should be patient. We shall register as many people as possible. If people continue to disrupt the process, the opportunity to register more people before the deadline will be interrupted.
“Our commitment is to register as many people as possible and we will try to do so within the limited time,” the INEC spokesperson said.
Oriowo, who frowned at the last-minute rush by many applicants, said the exercise had been on since June 2021 and many people did not take advantage but waited till the deadline.
“As it is, INEC started this process over a year ago. The surge we are experiencing in the last few weeks is expected, but people should as well be patient.
“The commission will do everything possible to register as many people as possible. We will try as much as possible to capture everybody,” she added.
Oriowo said that INEC had also been monitoring the CVR processes in the state.
According to Lagos state Police Public Relations Officer Benjamin Hundeyin, the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) diverted from their original location to the church.
The police said the people complained about the action of the independent commission’s officials, and they swung into action.
The police spokesperson, in a statement on his verified Twitter account, said the DPO of Ijeshatedo led his men to the scene and arrested the officials.
“The INEC officials were assigned to Imam Thani Street by House No 9A for today’s exercise. They were, however, found within the church premises.
Residents raised concerns & informed the police. The DPO Ijeshatedo swung into action and brought the INEC officials to the station,” the statement reads in part.
The CVR which commenced in June 2021 would be concluded on July 31, ahead of the 2023 general elections.