The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged Security agencies to raise the bar of professionalism witnessed in recently conducted elections by creating an atmosphere where citizens will feel free to go out and vote in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council elections scheduled for 12th February, 2022.
National Commissioner and Chairman, Board of the Electoral Institute (TEI), Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, made the call while declaring open a two-day Elections Security Personnel training for the Area Council elections.
Prof. Zuru, noted that part of the reasons why the Anambra state governorship election was adjudged free, fair and credible, was largely attributed to the professional conduct of security agencies, and challenged the security agencies to raise the bar of professionalism in the forthcoming FCT Area Council and other future elections.
Identifying the voter as King, the TEI Board Chairman said “we must therefore treat him with all courtesy and respect that he deserves because democracy is sustained by the voter”. Continuing, he said, “We must create that environment that makes the voter feel free and happy to exercise his franchise”.
Prof. Zuru noted that the training provided the avenue for the Commission to share experiences and lessons learnt from recently conducted elections and urged participants to cascade the knowledge gained from the training to their colleagues who will be deployed to secure the electoral space.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner for the FCT, Alh. Yahaya Bello, said the training workshop will provide the security operatives with the rules of engagement governing the electoral space, as he pointed out that their roles in election is quite different from off election duty.
Alh. Bello disclosed that since after the 2019 general elections, the Commission in collaboration with security agencies under the aegis of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), has been identifying and addressing security threats occasioned intrusion from neighboring states.
He called for synergy between the agencies of ICCES to ensure the FCT elections are conducted in a secure environment.
The Director General (DG) of the Electoral Institute (TEI), Dr. Saád Umar Idris, in his welcome remarks said the purpose of the training was to diversify the knowledge and capacity of the security personnel, as well as equip them to “deliver electoral security services as professionals highlighting the nexus between security and human rights issues as it relates to elections”.
He maintained that, “adequate security ensures the free movement of electoral staff, voters, candidates, observers and other stakeholders on Election Day, which in turn adds to the credibility of the electoral process. It is also an important pre-condition for the deployment of sensitive materials to polling units which increases the level of participation of voters in an election”.
The Commissioner of Police (CP) for the FCT, Babaji Sunday, described the training as apt. He said it seeks to prepare the minds of the security personnel on the expectations of them ahead of the elections.
Represented by Assistant Commissioner of Police N.A Sabo, the FCT CP charged all security persons participating in the Area Council elections to conduct themselves with utmost professionalism and called for synergy among all agencies working to secure the electoral space in the FCT.
The CP assured that the agencies will provide maximum security before, during and after the elections. He said will dominate the environment, and leave no stone unturned to ensure that there we have peaceful elections in the FCT.