With just two months to the general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has identified security as a major challenge.
The concern was raised as the commission said that all the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) for those who recently registered have been processed for collection at the INEC’s offices across the 774 local government area secretariats.
The commission is still working on the applications for replacement and transfer.
INEC chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu also noted that the conduct of some security personnel, who have the responsibility of securing the environment has become a major issue.
Yakubu, who spoke yesterday in Abuja at the Police/stakeholders’ security summit, organised by the Police, however, said that the commission will engage with the security agencies, particularly the police, in defining new parameters for the deployment of security personnel in the electoral process.
He also urged the security agencies to maintain professionalism and neutrality.
He said: “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 elections, the conduct of some security personnel has become a major issue of discussion. We are deeply concerned.”
The INEC boss also noted that it has become imperative to review the template for the elections so as to reassure Nigerians and international community of the commission’s preparedness to conduct free, fair and transparent elections.
Prof. Yakubu said: “Consequently, it is imperative to review the template for the 2019 general elections in order to reassure Nigerians and the international community of our commitment to credible elections and to protect the sanctity of the electoral process.
“INEC will engage with the security agencies, particularly the police, in defining new parameters for the deployment of security agencies in the electoral process.
“As I said at a recent workshop on election security, organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), INEC shall fully apply the provision of Section 29(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which places in the commission the sole responsibility for requesting the deployment of security personnel necessary for elections.