The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC says eight of its Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, were snatched by thugs in Delta and Katsina States in the ongoing presidential and National Assembly elections.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the ongoing general elections on Saturday in Abuja.
He, however said that the snatched BVAS were immediately replaced for the election to continue, while three were later recovered by security agencies.
“Based on the reports we have received from our offices, there have been some challenges in the process.
“One of the challenges is the inability of the commission in some locations to open the polling units at 8:30am.
“Some of the reasons for this include the perennial problem of logistics in spite of our best efforts.
“Generally speaking, we have delivered hundreds of ballot papers and result sheets that we were supposed to deliver.
“For instance, we couldn’t deploy early in Alawa in Shiroro LGA of Niger State because bandits launched an attack, not necessarily on INEC officials, within the area.
“So, on the advice of security agencies we tarried awhile and I’m happy to say that we are able to deploy and voting in that location is ongoing as we speak.“
Yakubu said that similarly in Oshimili local government area of Delta, thugs attacked polling units during which two BVAS machines were lost.
“Again, determined that election must continue, we were able to replace the stolen machines, restore security and voting continued in that location.
“Similarly, in Safana LG area of Katsina state, thugs attacked one voting location and snatched six of our BVAS machines.
“But again, we were able to use the spare BVAS machines and restore security for voting to continue.
“The security agencies have recovered three BVAS machines, but three are still held by the thugs.
“In these locations, the target of attacks were the BVAS machines. It is no longer the ballot boxes,” Yakubu siad.
On the functionality of BVAS, the INEC chairman said that the device has been performing optimally.
“So far so good; generally speaking, the BVAS deployed nationwide for the first time has been functioning optimally in most parts of the country.
“We are hearing less complaints about the functionality of the BVAS.”
He linked the inability to commence election at 8.30am in some polling units to perennial problem of logistics and insecurity.
Mr Yakubu, however, assured Nigerians that no voter would be disenfranchised because of that.
“Based on the reports that are received from the various states of the federation and our office in the Federal Capital Territory, some challenges were identified.
“One of which is the inability of the commission in a number of places to open the poll units at the appointment of 8:30am.
“Some of the polling units opened late, but in line with our policy any Nigerian on the queue will have the opportunity to vote no matter how long it takes, until the last on the queue before 2.30pm votes, no matter how long it takes.”