FCT poll: INEC tasks security agencies on professional conduct

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has urged security agencies to raise the bar of professionalism in the Feb. 12 Federal Capital Territory (FCT) area council election and future elections.

National Commissioner and Chairman, Board of the Electoral Institute (TEI), Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, made the call at a two-day election security personnel training for the area council elections, in Abuja on Tuesday.

Zuru urged security personnel to raise their professional conducts as witnessed in recently conducted elections by creating an atmosphere, where citizens would freely cast their votes in the Feb. 12 FCT Area Council election.

Zuru, according to INEC daily bulletin issued in Abuja, said part of the reasons why the Anambra governorship election was adjudged free, fair and credible, was largely attributed to the professional conduct of security agencies.

He 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.”

He added that: “We must create that environment that makes the voter feel free and happy to exercise his franchise”.

Zuru noted that the training provided avenue for the commission to share experiences and lessons learnt from recently conducted elections.

He urged participants to cascade the knowledge gained from the training to their colleagues who would be deployed to secure the electoral space.

INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for the FCT, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, said the workshop provided the security operatives with the rules of engagement governing the electoral space, as he pointed out that their roles in election was quite different from off election duty.

Bello disclosed that  after the 2019 general elections, the commission in collaboration with security agenced under the aegos of Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), had been identifying and addressing security threats and occasioned intrusion from neighboring states.

He called for synergy between the agencies of ICCES to ensure the FCT elections were conducted in a secure environment.

The Director General (DG) of the Electoral Institute (TEI), Dr Saád  Umar, in his remarks, said the purpose of the training was to diversify the knowledge and capacity of the security personnel.

Umar said it was also to equip them to “deliver electoral security services as professionals highlighting the nexus between security and human rights issues as it relates to elections”.

He said: “Adequate security ensures the free movement of electoral staff, voters, candidates, observers and other stakeholders on election day.

“This, in turn adds to the credibility of the electoral process. It is also an important precondition for the deployment of sensitive materials to polling units which increases the level of participation of voters in an election,” Umar said.

The Commissioner of Police (CP) for the FCT, Mr Babaji Sunday, described the training as apt.

Sunday, represented by Assistant Commissioner of Police in FCT, N.A Sabo, said the training sought to prepare the minds of the security personnel on the expectations of them ahead of the election.

Sunday advised all security personnel 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.

He pledged that the agencies would provide maximum security before, during and after the elections. (NAN)