The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has disclosed that about 85 staff out of 16,000 died between January and December, 2017 due to various illnesses.
The INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmud Yakubu made the disclosure while defending the 2018 budget estimates of the electoral body before the Senate Committee on INEC on Wednesday in Abuja.
The revelation was in response to question from members of the committee led by Senator Suleiman Nazif on why budgetary provisions were made for sick bay at the headquarters of the electoral body in Abuja.
He said some of the deaths were recorded within the premises of the commission as a result of heart attack triggered by high blood pressure.
“Due to the nature of our work, our staff work under intense pressure to the point that many of them have no time for routine medical check ups which often lead to high blood pressure and heart attack on some of them while on duty either here in Abuja or at our state offices.
“In fact, last year alone, preponderance of the 85 staffers that we lost died through such circumstances hours or few days after being rushed to hospitals. The reason why we decided to have sick bays in our offices now for preventive measures”, he said.
He added that aside budgetary provisions being made for establishment of sick bays in INEC offices, a total of N9bn has also been set aside in the 2018 budget estimates of the commission for hazard and other allowances for staffers on the field.
He, however, explained that the total budgetary figure of the commission for the 2019 general election was still being compiled.
According to him, the exact figure of amount of money the 2019 general election will cost the commission across the 119,999 polling units in the country can only be arrived at, after the passage of electoral act by the National Assembly.
“It is provisions of the amendment to 2010 electoral act after passage by the National Assembly that will show the commission how elections at primary level by the political parties would be conducted and monetary cost that would entail on the part of INEC, let alone the general elections”, he said.
Meanwhile the Senate Committee on INEC screened additional 8 nominees as Resident Electoral Commissioners.
Those screened and given the clean bill of health yesterday were Dr Usman Ajidagba from Kwara State, Baba Yusuf Abba from Borno State, Segun Agbaje from Ekiti State, Yahaya Bello from Nasarawa State, Mohammed Magaji Ibrahim from Gombe state, while one nominee whose identity could not be confirmed immediately was absent.