The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged the Nigerian Police and other security agencies in the country to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Electoral Act, and avoid giving Nigerians the impression that they have their separate security arrangements outside of those sanctioned by the commission.
In his regular consultative meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Elections (ICCES) held yesterday in Abuja, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, warned the security agencies against running parallel security arrangements to the commission’s, saying its security plans should be strictly implemented by the agencies.
Yakubu added that learning from the experiences of some of the 195 off-season elections conducted since 2015, that it was seeking a different approach to the deployment of security forces during elections.
Yakubu said, “Learning from the experiences of some of the 195 off-season elections conducted since 2015, it is pertinent to draw our attention to the need for a different approach to the deployment of security forces during elections. The Nigerian Police Force remains the lead agency for election security. Other security agencies will play a supportive role to the Nigerian Police.”
The chairman stated that the commission needs new security architecture in the general elections, consistent with the provision of Section 29(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
He stated, “Section 29(3) states, ‘Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law for purposes of securing the vote, the Commission shall be responsible for requesting for the deployment of relevant security personnel necessary for elections or by registrations of voters and shall assign them in a manner to be determined by the commission in consultation with the relevant security agencies – provided that the commission shall only request for the deployment of the Nigerian Armed Forces for protection of election materials and protection of election officials.’
“In particular, we are committed to ensuring the elections are organised in such a manner that security agencies are not perceived to be running parallel arrangement with INEC. Rather, it should strictly be INEC’s plan for the election that should be implemented.”
The chairman said the meeting was convened primarily to update members of ICCES on INEC’s preparations for the general elections, and also an opportunity to hear from the security agencies on their preparations so far.
He revealed that the commission had so far implemented 10 out of 14 activities on the timetable and schedule of activities for the election, adding that the four outstanding activities are the publication of the list of candidates, the submission of names of polling agents by political parties, the last day of campaign and the dates for the two categories of elections