The Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi, has revealed that the Corps and other security agencies have put in place a special strategy to tackle the insecurity in the South East in order to guarantee the conduct of hitch-free and peaceful 2023 general elections.
He made this known while disclosing the opening of a two-day capacity-building training for state commandants and the management of the NSCDC in preparation for the general elections.
Audi noted that all hands must be on deck to ensure safe, credible and transparent elections in line with best global practices before, during and after the forthcoming general elections.
The South East has been a hotbed of violence with many Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) facilities destroyed and many government officials killed.
“South East is a particular issue but we have a strategy in place.
“There are certain security strategies that we can’t disclose but we are working on it,” he said.
Speaking further, Audi said the NSCDC had devised strategies to combat the general insecurity in the country ahead of the election, adding that the Corps is using a covert approach.
“The scepticism raised by Nigerians and foreign diplomats towards the successful conduct of the 2023 polls due to security concerns resulting from attacks on INEC facilities in some parts of the country, as well as facilities of some sister security agencies, occasioned violence in the political rally/campaigns of certain parties, hate speeches between political gladiators, jettisoned media town hall meetings, have generated cause for concern in recent times.
“With less than five weeks to the general elections, the Corps will release very soon, revised standard operational guidelines on election duties, and other salient election security rules for personnel, which is aimed at ensuring safe and secured electoral processes nationwide.
“In addition to physical security, this strategic management workshop will also develop common policy guidelines that can be used in deepening the capacity of Corps personnel and assist officers and men to comply with global standards of election security management.
“Already, the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), has produced a revised code of conduct and rules of engagement for security personnel on electoral duty. It is expedient that we become conversant with this updated document as strategic commanders and relate the knowledge to our respective subordinates,” he disclosed.
On her part, Marija Peran, Resident Representative of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Nigeria – an organisation promoting democracy, good governance and rule of law and supporting security sector reforms, expressed fears that violence may compromise the integrity of the 2023 general elections.
“Insecurity will impact voter turnout and may affect the 2023 general election unless holistically addressed,” she said.
While citing the November 6, 2021 election in Anambra as an example, she said only 10.27 per cent of the nearly 2.5 million registered voters voted to elect their governor.
“It denies people sound representation in governance when most registered voters stay away from the polls due to threats of violence and insecurity.
“It is not just about the turnout weakening the democratic fabric, but also the colossal waste of human and material resources mobilised for the poll,” added Peran who called for efforts to turn the tide.
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