By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned security agencies against running a parallel arrangement with the commission, saying its plans should be strictly implemented by the agencies.
The electoral body added that learning from the experience 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.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this Wednesday at the regular consultative meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Elections (ICCES).
Yakubu noted: “Learning from the experience 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 Nigeria 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 a new security architecture for the 2019 polls consistent with the provision of Section 29(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
He stated: “29(3) notwithstanding, the provisions of any other law for purposes of securing the vote, the commission shall be responsible for requesting 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 the deployment of the Nigerian Armed Forces 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 that the meeting was convened primarily to update members of ICCES on INEC’s preparations for the 2019 general election and also an opportunity to hear from the security agencies on their preparations so far.
He revealed that the commission has 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 due dates for the two categories of elections.