The Independent National Electoral Commission in collaboration with the European Centre for Election Support has trained security agents in Gombe State on the strategies to employ for handling various forms of violence and other threats before, during and after the elections.
The two-day training ensured reduction of risks or the avoidance of threats in the field for election duties, especially in providing a secure environment for the elections.
Participants were drawn from various security arms, to enhance the commitment to forge synergy among all relevant stakeholders in the security sector.
The main purpose of the training was to improve their skills and strengthen their commitment to promptly respond to cases of security threats before, during and after the 2019 elections.
The Acting Director General of the Electoral Institute, Dr. Sa’ad Umar Idris, said the electoral commission was going to sustain the improvements so far made on the 2015 General Election, arising from the use of cascaded electoral security training employed during the elections in Ekiti and Osun States.
Dr. Idris, who was represented by the Admin Officer of the Electoral Commission in Gombe State, Mallam Abacha Bukar, said the training was aimed at diversifying the knowledge and capacity of the security agents, as well as equip them to deliver electoral security services as professionals.
The training is intended to provide you with an understanding of key security procedures required to ensure safety of election officials on election duties and equip you with skills sets that would enable you balance the imperative of securing the electoral process with the need to allow voters unfettered opportunity to come out and cast their votes without fear or intimidation as a result of the presence of security personnel, Mallam Bukar said.
The Gombe State Police Commissioner, Mr. Mohammed Garba Mukaddas, charged the security agents to take the success of the election as a priority, while assuring the electoral commission of adequate security across the state.
The Project Director of the European Centre for Electoral Support, Mr. Rudolf Elbling, who was represented by an Electoral Expert at the organisation, Dr. Isiaka Yahaya, urged the security agents to exhibit high sense of professionalism during the elections.
Election, no doubt is a sensitive and complex operation. It is however, our expectation that security forces will display the highest sense of professionalism in handling issues of election security and maintain a friendly and non-partisan disposition that will inspire the confidence of the general populace in the electoral processes, Dr. Ishaya said.
The Commissioner of Police at the electoral Commission, Mr. Felix Gani, said security was indeed an indispensable agent at ensuring a credible election; hence it should be taken seriously.
We must secure the safety of workers and election materials or election days. We have to secure the buildings and infrastructures of INEC, we must ensure voters’ registrations which have been done, political rallies have been done, and we have done it that way. This is our responsibility to see that everything goes well. So, election duties, all of us are involved. And what we aim to do during election duties is, we must ensure that activities at polling units, polling stations and collation centres are conducted without any disruptions, Mr. Gani said.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Gombe State, Alhaji Umar Ibrahim, said the security agents should exhibit high sense of integrity during the elections in addressing challenges to reduce risks to the barest minimum.
He challenged them to secure the election right from the preparatory stage to the wrap-up of the elections.
It’s not the number of people that we are having at polling boots or polling units that matter, but to have people who know what they are doing and that is the essence of this training. As I always do, I want to assure the INEC Commissioner that we will remain committed to this national assignment and we are confident we will provide the adequate security that it requires, Mr. Mukaddas said.
Source: Voice of Nigeria