Ahead of next year’s general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will continue to work with security agencies for the arrest and prosecution of violators of the Electoral Act.
INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said this in a remark at the Police/Stakeholders’ Security Summit which was held yesterday in Abuja.
“As with all elections, security is going to be a major issue in the 2019 general election. Security agencies have a responsibility to secure the environment for elections. In doing so, there is the overriding responsibility for professionalism and neutrality,” he said.
Maintaining that the rules of engagement must be clear to all, Yakubu said: “Learning from the cumulative experience of the off-season elections conducted into 195 constituencies since the 2015 general election, the conduct of some security personnel has become a major issue of discussion.
“We are deeply concerned. Consequently, it is imperative to review the template for the 2019 general election in order to reassure Nigerians and the international community of our commitment to credible elections and to protect the sanctity of the electoral process. INEC will engage with the security agencies, particularly the police, in defining new parameters for the deployment of security agencies in the electoral process,” he said.
“Working together with the police, we have successfully prosecuted 42 electoral offenders following violent disruption of the Minjibir State Constituency bye-election in Kano in 2016. Similarly, a number of other prosecutions are ongoing in Rivers State and most recently in Osun State where the police has forwarded nine (9) case files to the Commission, out of which three (3) cases involving vote buying and illegal possession of PVCs are being prosecuted. INEC believes that the best deterrence to violations of the law during elections is swift prosecution. We will continue to work with the security agencies in this regard”, he added.