The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has raised alarm over possible foreign interference in the 2019 general elections.

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, raised concern on Monday in Abuja.

He put advanced democracies in Europe, North America, Russia and elsewhere on notice that the country would not accept meddling in the process and influencing with the outcome of the general election.

Yakubu spoke through a representative at a media workshop on Reporting of Elections in the ECOWAS region held in Abuja.

He said the challenge of election meddling and foreign interference, using the internet, was a new phenomenon that must be tackled.

The United States is currently probing Russia’s involvement in its last presidential election.

Represented by Dr. Lecky Mustapha, a National Commissioner, Prof. Yakubu listed other challenges that the workshop must address, including the impact of fake news, the new media which, he said, was largely unregulated.

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“As the fourth estate of the realm, the media is the gatekeeper to ensuring transparency and accountability in the electoral process.

“This is in addition to their primary role of informing the public on all activities, timelines, and the dos and the don’ts, as well as providing platforms for discourse.

“Election managers and administrators always need the media to sensitise, mobilise, and sustain the interest of the citizens in the process.

“The media remains the most reliable instrument through which all electoral issues involving participation and inclusivity are encouraged. There is no doubt, therefore, that the media is an important stakeholder and partner,” Prof. Yakubu said.

The two-day workshop is organised with the support of the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), and has participants drawn from across the West African sub region.

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