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Security Officials for Election to Take Oath of Loyalty, Neutrality

Security Officials for Election to Take Oath of Loyalty, Neutrality

Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it is now mandatory for security officials taking part in the conduct of an election to affirm or swear to an oath of loyalty and neutrality that they will not accept bribe or gratification.

Among others they will also affirmed to perform their functions and duties as well as discharge same in the interest of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without fear of favour.

According to the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Bayelsa State, Dr. Emmanuel Hart, any officer who violates the provision as contained in section 26(1) of the electoral act, commits an offence of dereliction of duty and liable on conviction to a maximum fine of 500,000 or imprisonment  of 12months or both see section 26 and section 120 of the electoral act, 2022.

Speaking at training workshop on the management of election security yesterday  in Yenagoa,  Bayelsa State, he said the effective discharge of the responsibility of the police and security agencies  during the conduct of election will lead to a free fair and credible election thereby increasing voters confidence in the electoral process.

Represented by INEC Head of Department, Legal Services, Mrs. Ayi Obaseki, the commissioner said: “The advent of the electoral act, 2022 introduced some novel provisions that have strengthened the Nigeria electoral process as well as the statutory role of the police before , during and after the conduct of elections in Nigeria.

“The police being the leading security agency in Nigeria electoral process should note that her role transcends voting and other activities that takes place on election day.”

“Section 91(1) of the electoral act, 2022 empowers the commissioner of police of a state to provide adequate security for proper and peaceful conduct of political  rally and procession in their respective jurisdiction and constituencies.”

“The police has a responsibility to prevent the commission of election day offences . The police should ensure that election materials are not hijacked destroyed or fraudulently altered by any person or group . Persons in possession of offensive weapon or soliciting for votes on election day should be arrested see section 126 of the electoral act, 2022.”

In an interview,  Obaseki, said the  police has a fundamental role to ensure security of people, INEC  staff and materials as well as the security of life of citizens and properties in the state, adding that  the major and crucial role of the police in this election is to ensure that the vote of the electorate are protected.

She said currently INEC  have a department of voter education that is currently sensitizing the electorate on the procedures that the commission is adopting in the election that will  make hijacking of election materials a waste of time as technology has made it important to cancel areas where materials are hijacked.

The State Commissioner of Police, Ben Okolo, said the training workshop was to ensure that the police understand the processes to cover the in-coming election in the state, just as he assured that the police will ensure a seamless electioneering process.

He said: “We have no option other than to comply with what the law says and  all stipulation with the laws will be applied,  we will conform.”

Also, speaking Amb. Bosinde  Araikpe, security relation consultant who partnered the State Command in hosting the workshop, said the programme, said despite contrary reports, he still have confidence in the Nigeria Police.

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