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2023: Army to deploy 2,300 soldiers for Imo governorship election – Official

Aug 18, 2023 | 2023 Elections | 0 comments

Like other states in Nigeria’s Southeast, security has deteriorated in Imo State with frequent attacks by armed persons.
The INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Imo State, Sylvia Agu, has said 2,300 soldiers from three battalions of the Nigerian army would be deployed for the 11 November governorship election in the state.

According to a report by Vanguard newspaper, Mrs. Agu, a professor, disclosed this on Thursday in Owerri at a two-day media roundtable and engagement on the election.

The event was organized for journalists by the International Press Centre in collaboration with the European Union.

The REC said INEC received assurance from the new Commander of the 34 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Usman Lawal, a brigadier-general, when a delegation of the electoral commission visited him.

She said the visit was to ascertain their preparation for the governorship election in the state.

“Insecurity, no doubt, remains an issue. It is, however, a thing of joy that the Commander, 34 Artillery Brigade, Obinze, has promised to deploy enough security personnel to ensure a hitch-free election in the state,” the REC said.

“Indeed, he promised that over 2,300 soldiers will be deployed to the state, during the 11 November 2023 gubernatorial election,” she added.

‘Irregularities marred the 2023 general elections.
While responding to questions from discussants, Mrs. Agu admitted that the 2023 general elections were marred with irregularities and insecurity.

“I acknowledge irregularities and security issues during the last presidential, national, and state assembly elections.

“I urge the Imo electorate to avail themselves of the forthcoming electoral opportunity, to exercise their franchise, without any fear of molestation by the non-state actors,” she stated.

“Amid insecurity in the state, we did our best to ensure a seamless and hitch-free election. I came to Imo State one month before the general election and was getting myself acquainted with the political environment. The burden was too much on me.”

Background
Like other states in Nigeria’s Southeast, security has deteriorated in Imo State with frequent attacks by armed persons.

The attacks often target security agencies, government officials, and facilities.

Several people have been killed or injured in such attacks.

Officials of the INEC and personnel of various security agencies have become targets of attacks lately in Imo State by gunmen said to be part of the Biafra agitation in southeast Nigeria.

In April 2022, four masked gunmen released a video warning the Nigerian government not to hold the 2023 general elections in the Southeast. They threatened to deal with any election official seen in the region.

Within the same period, the gunmen, who claimed to be Biafran agitators, killed an INEC official, Anthony Okorie, when they attacked a polling unit at Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area of Imo State, where the continuous voter registration was being held.

Gunmen from all over the state and the region have attacked several INEC facilities, setting some of them on fire.

The Nigerian government has accused the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) of being responsible for the deadly attacks in the region. But the group has repeatedly denied the accusation.

IPOB is leading the agitation for an independent state of Biafra, which it wants carved out of the Southeast and some parts of South-south Nigeria.

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