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INEC not responsible for detention of observers - Jega

21 November 2013, 11:26

London - The Independent National Electoral Commision, INEC Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega said on Thursday that the electoral body was not responsible for the arrest of some observers during the November 16 Anambra governorship elections.

Jega, who was represented by Prof. Mohammed Kuna, stated this at a lecture entitled: "The Road to 2015 Elections; Prospect and Challenges" in London.

It would be recalled that some observers, including former FCT Minister Nasir el-Rufai, were detained during the elections which INEC later declared inconclusive.

 "I don't know under what basis Nasir el-Rufai went to Anambra State, and the commission has no hand in it.

“There are procedures for accrediting observers; they are usually briefed, trained ahead of the exercise.

"And after the elections, they submit their report," Jega said while answering questions from participants.

He attributed challenges to free and fair elections to include the attitude of some political elite.

"Politicians are not election observers, if the parties involved refuse to abide by the law that will pose a problem."

The electoral boss, who expressed concern over irregularities in the election, said that the commission had launched an inquiry to ascertain the cause of the problem.

"We have summoned our officials; we want to have a comprehensive understanding of what took place.

"We had adequate logistic in place, deployment of electoral materials were done in time, so what happened ?"

According to Jega, a better understanding of the challenges in the Anambra election will guide the commission in 2015.

While noting the level of preparedness for the next general elections, he said INEC was narrowing down to three key areas of structure.

They include policy and planning, adding that it would start the distribution of permanent voter cards in 2014.

To this end, Jega said that out of the 870 offenders in previous elections, only 200 had been prosecuted.

The lecture was organised by the African Leadership Centre, Kings College London.

-  NAN


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