Politics

INEC to review armed security agents deployment

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has said the electoral body will review the way security agents are deployed during elections in order to tackle ballot snatching and other forms of electoral violence.

Yakubu said this at the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security meeting held in Abuja.The INEC chairman said the current election security framework needed a review in order to block loopholes which some hoodlums capitalised on to commit electoral malpractices.

He said, “All security personnel deployed to polling units and collation centres should be identified by name, just as INEC officials, in order to enhance transparency and to enable the commission and security agencies know who to contact in specific locations during elections when the need arises.

“The current electoral security framework provides for deployment of personnel in three concentric circles. In the innermost circle are the polling units where unarmed policemen are deployed while in the outer circles, armed security personnel are deployed to mount roadblocks, patrols and provide rapid response in case of any emergency at the polling units or collation centres.

“We must review the deployment of armed security to the outer perimeters so that they are readily available to counter the movement of thugs with the intention of disrupting elections through the intimidation of voters; harassment of election officials, observers and the media or snatching of election materials.”

The INEC boss stated that arrests of offenders must be followed by a thorough investigation to ensure that hoodlums and their sponsors were sanctioned according to the law.

He said although INEC had no power to cancel elections, the commission would not hesitate to suspend polls in any area where its officials reported disruption or threats to lives of voters.

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