Rudolf Elbling, Project Director of European Centre for Electoral Support, ECES, Enugu, has urged security agencies to display high sense of professionalism before, during and after the general elections.
Mr Elbling, gave the advice at the training of ‘Trainers for Election Security Personnel for the 2019 Election’, in Enugu, on Friday.
According to the project director, election, no doubt, is a sensitive and complex operation.
“It is however, our expectation that the security forces will display the highest sense of professionalism in handling issues of election security.
“They will maintain a friendly and non-partisan disposition that will inspire the confidence of the general populace in the electoral process.’’
“Security agencies have critical roles to play in securing the electoral process.
“A role that has become more challenging in view of reported cases of security breaches in certain parts of the country.
“The issue of security is indeed very complex in a vast country like Nigeria where election personnel and materials, have to be deployed across land and sometimes difficult terrain,” he said.
He noted that ECES Nigeria would continue to partner INEC under the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria, EUSDGN.
“We will assist in providing technical assistance and capacity building meant to improve the electoral process”.
In a message to the training, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of INEC, said that the training of security agencies had remained a critical aspect of professionalizing the electoral workforce.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that Mr Yakubu was represented by INEC’s Deputy Director for Electoral Training, Ifeanyi Agoha.
He noted that the impact was manifested during the off-season elections leading to the general elections.
“The continuous engagement with critical stakeholders such as security agencies is geared towards ensuring a safe and secure electoral environment for citizens particularly the voting public to engage in governance without any form of hindrance.
“This training on election security is, therefore, important as it will serve to equip security personnel with knowledge of our electoral processes and other important electoral issues.
“I implore participants to take the training seriously as it will deepen their standard electoral operational guidelines.
“It will also create a harmonious relationship amongst security agencies on election duty,” he said.
In a welcome address, Dr Emeka Ononamadu, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Enugu State, said that he was optimistic that there would be adequate security during the elections.
“However, I expect security agencies to step up their level of patriotism and remain highly neutral in the elections.
“I will encourage all of us to know that this country is ours and we have to protect it and do everything humanly possible to make it work for the better of all,’’ Mr Ononamadu said.
NAN reports that security agencies attending the training included the Police, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps and Department of State Security.
Others are Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigerian Customs Service, Nigerian Prisons Service, Federal Fire Service, Federal Road Safety Commission and INEC Security Department staff.
The two-day training will end on January 26.