The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ondo State Command, says it will train election officials on necessary security measures to take during elections.
Dr Hammed Abodunrin, the NSCDC Commandant, said when he paid a courtesy visit on the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ondo state, Dr Rufus Akeju, on Thursday in Akure.
Abodunrin said it was the responsibility of the corps and other security agencies to ensure security during elections
He, however, said other stakeholders including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must also work in tune with the security agencies.
The commandant said it was important for all stakeholders to ensure safe, free, fair and secure election where people would not be afraid to come out to vote.
“If INEC staff are not secured or feel threatened, they won’t be able to conduct a proper election, not necessarily that they want to get anything, but because they have to also secure their lives.
“This is the only way we can partner with INEC through the training of their staff on personal security.
“Because if there is a competition, somebody is bound to win and somebody will also lose while somebody could be aggrieved, because they don’t know how to play the game according to the rules.
“So, instead of INEC officers to become victims in the course of their duty, we can always upscale their skills in the way they can protect themselves.
“INEC officials’ personal security is very important to us and we are going to train them on how to get appropriate information and how to also secure themselves either at work or at home,” he said.
Abodunrin added that the command would also sensitise the officials on how to do away with objects that could trigger issues during elections.
“Virtually all the objects we are using in our homes and offices have now become symbols of political parties, such as brooms and umbrellas.
“If we see electoral officers using a broom to sweep the polling booth or carry an umbrella during the rain, people could mistake it for a kind of campaign for a particular political party.
“From our experience, we have seen where people react to such things during an election.
“Meanwhile, all the objects have an alternative; a sweeping stick could be use instead of a broom and a rain coat could replace an umbrella,” he said.
Abodunrin commended INEC on the recent elections in Ekiti and Osun states, saying the two elections portend a lot of hope for the country.
The NSCDC commandant called on politicians to play the game according to the rules and shun any action that would jeopardise the 2023 general election.
“Our security operatives have to be observant and not only to say they are objective, but they must be seen to be objective. Electorates should calm down and believe that their votes will count,” he said.
Responding, the REC appreciated the NSCDC for their demonstration of love and commitment to the consolidation and deepening of democracy in Nigeria.
Akeju assured the readiness of INEC to conduct free, fair, credible, generally acceptable and inclusive election in line with international best practices.
He appealed to the NSCDC to complement the commission’s efforts towards building a democratic culture in the country.
“Your visit today is timely as you are aware that the commission is preparing for the 2023 general election; the training will be for the betterment of officers and the commission at large,” Akeju said.