INEC has expressed deep concern over perceived lack of neutrality of some security personnel ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at the police/stakeholders’ security summit organised for the Nigeria Police Force.
He noted that INEC would engage with the security agencies, particularly the police, in defining new parameters for the deployment of security agencies in the electoral process.
According to him “As with all elections, security is going to be a major issue in the 2019 general elections. Security agencies have a responsibility to secure the environment for elections. In doing so, there is the overriding responsibility for professionalism and neutrality.
“The rules of engagement must be clear to all. Learning from the cumulative experience of the off-season elections conducted into 195 constituencies since the 2015 general election, the conduct of some security personnel has become a major issue of discussion. We are deeply concerned.”
He stressed that the commission would continue to work with the security agencies for the arrest and prosecution of violators of the electoral act.
According to Yakubu, “Working together with the police, we have successfully prosecuted 42 electoral offenders following violent disruption of the Minjibir State Constituency by-election in Kano in 2016.
“Similarly, a number of other prosecutions are ongoing in Rivers State and most recently in Osun State where the police has forwarded nine case files to the commission, out of which three cases involving vote buying and illegal possession of PVCs are being prosecuted. INEC believes that the best deterrence to violations of the law during elections is swift prosecution. We will continue to work with the security agencies in this regard,” he added.
The chairman also revealed that all Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) for fresh registrants have been printed and delivered to the states and FCT for collection at various local government area offices.
“The commission plans to devolve the collection to at least the Ward level soon. We will keep citizens informed of the process. However, the 1,178,793 requests for replacement of damaged, defaced or lost PVCs as well as the 769,917 requests for intra and inter-state transfers are being processed. The PVCs will be delivered to the states by the end of this week,” he said.