By Angela Atabo
Election Monitor, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), has called on heads of security agencies to announce sanctions for security operatives caught involved in election malpractice.
Mr Abiodun Ajijola, National Coordinator of the organisation, made the call at the Public Presentation of the 2018 Ekiti State Governorship Election Observation and Research Guide on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to him, the call to provide clear punishment for security personnel liable of election malpractice was to deter those that might be tempted to collude with unscrupulous politicians.
Ajijola also advised security heads to take the welfare of their personnel seriously ahead of the election to prevent them from being induced to engage in election malpractice.
“The Nigerian Police leadership especially, should ensure that the welfare of its officers in Ekiti is made available to them on time,” the civil rights advocate said.
Media reports, he said, indicated that the police would deploy 30,000 personnel for the Ekiti election which was a sharp increase from the 18,000 deployed in 2014.
According to him, what this meant was that there will be an average of one policeman to every 30 voters in Ekiti and 13 to 14 security officers per polling unit.
“This is unprecedented in any governorship election in the past; with this sharp increase of police deployment, this election is going to be one the most heavily policed election.
“While there have been some election violence related issues, the security agencies must be cautious not to aggravate the situation.
“The key issue is not only the number of security personnel but also the impartiality and professional conduct of the officers while on election duty.
“There is need for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to appeal to the security chiefs to intervene by providing clear consequences.
“This is necessary to caution personnel who might be partisan and work against the conduct of peaceful elections irrespective of political affiliations,” Ajijola said.
He said that the caution was necessary because much of what had happened in the past where insecurity did not allow the conclusion of the conduct of elections.
The rights advocate urged political actors to play by the rules and avoid any attempt to interfere or manipulate the conduct of the Ekiti elections.
He also advised candidates to desist from making inflammatory statements and threats of violence.
Ajijola said that INEC needed to continue its development of the Nigeria’s electoral process by ensuring that it successfully achieved its mandate in all areas.
He urged the commission to ensure consistent adherence to its guidelines on the use of card readers adding that manual accreditation should not be allowed.
The CSO further urged INEC to sanction staff that disobeyed the law by deliberately refusing to use the card reader.
Ajijola also called for effective sanctions for political office holders and other highly placed individuals involved in electoral violence.
He said that the Election Monitor’s mission was to promote transparent electoral processes in Africa.
The group urged the electorate to remain law abiding and come out en masse on July 14 to cast their votes.