Some members of the National Youth Service Corps serving in Anambra State have expressed concerns over the manner the Independent National Electoral Commission is going about the state’s governorship poll scheduled for November 6.
They spoke against the backdrop of the insecurity that has ravaged the South-East, as well as the sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra.
IPOB’s Media and Public Secretary, Emma Powerful, in a statement had said the order was aimed at prevailing on the Federal Government to release its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
The group vowed that the protest would go on as planned if Kanu was not released before November 4.
Kanu is facing trial on a seven-count amended charge bordering on treason and terrorism.
However, a corps member serving in the Akwa South Local Government Area of Anambra State, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of attack, said the Independent National Electoral Commission had not briefed them about any insurance cover for corps members who would be used as presiding officers for the election.
He said, “INEC did not tell us anything about insurance cover for us. Its officials only said we are ad hoc staff and will work to support the workers of the commission. I am not sure I want to risk my life because of any election. What if they begin to shoot corps member? My mother has told me to come home.”
Another corps member, serving in a secondary school in Aniocha, said he might not go out on the day of the election because he knew nothing would be done if he died.
He said, “If INEC does not tell us how they would ensure our safety, I am not sure I will be part of the process even if they make it compulsory for all corps members.”
For a Batch B corps member, who identified himself simply as Samson, the November 6 poll might become a “blood bath,” and corps members would be the major casualties.
The corps member serving with a ministry in the state capital said, “We have not heard anything concrete. We just know of audio promises of thousands of police officers deployed in the state for the election. Our lives as corps members are at stake. We have heard stories of people beating and maiming corps members.
“I don’t want to be a part of something that may become a blood bath. If INEC does not give us health insurance and assurance of security, I will not part of the election.”
But the NYSC DG, Brig. General Shuaibu Ibrahim, said, “We are working closely with the security agencies. Last week, I was with the GOC. The GOC assured me that the corps members would be safe. The use of corps members in election is a voluntary something as we don’t force corps members to participate.
“I can’t also tell the exact number of corps members to be used because someone can join today and tomorrow would say he or she is not doing again. What if I say 2,000, then at the end of the day, it’s 1,000?
“We don’t actually discuss security issues; we work closely with security agencies and follow their dictates accordingly.”