The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is meeting today with security agencies over their request for the postponement of Edo State governorship polls scheduled to hold on Saturday.
Department of State Security (DSS) and Force Headquarters at a joint press conference in Abuja asked the electoral body to shift the election over security concerns.
The security agencies said intelligence reports had unveiled a plan by terrorists to attack vulnerable population.
INEC said it would seek to know the depth of threat at today’s meeting with the security agencies before taking a stand.
Force spokesman DCP Don Awunah who read the joint statement in Abuja said: “Credible intelligence availed the agencies indicate plans by insurgent/extremist elements to attack vulnerable communities and soft targets with high population during the forthcoming Sallah celebrations between 12th and 13th September, 2016,” adding that Edo State was amongst the states being targetted.
He said similar threats were issued during the May Labour Day and Democracy Day celebrations as well as the Ed-el-fitr holidays in July, but that security agencies thwarted the plan.
He said while election is important, the security agencies cannot allow the peace of the country to be disrupted.
“It is in regard of these that we are appealing to INEC which has the legal duty to regulate elections in the country to consider the need for possible postponement of the date of the election in Edo State in order to enable security agencies deal decisively with the envisaged terrorist threats.
Awunah urged the political stakeholders to bear the inconveniences arising from the shift in the election.
He also called on members of the public to remain vigilant and to report any unusual movements or actions by groups or individuals in their neighbourhoods.
The request came at a time when the INEC, chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and his commissioners as well as the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Joshak Habila, were meeting in Benin with the 19 candidates contesting in the election.
But following the advisory, INEC went into another round of meeting with the stakeholders.
Prof. Yakubu, who spoke to journalists after the meeting, said under the circumstances, he would have to meet with the security agencies who gave the advice before taking any decision.
“The commission will return to Abuja and take a decision. We need to consult with the security agents to know more of the threat and take a decision thereafter. I assure you that INEC would be jealously guided and protected. It is only the commission that has the power to fix the date for election. I assure you that INEC will protect our democracy,” he said.