Abuja - The Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC) on Tuesday called on security agencies to cooperate with it
for successful prosecution of election-related offences.
The Director-General of the Electoral Institute (TEI), Prof.
Abubakar Momoh, made the call at a three-day training workshop for security
personnel ahead of the 2015 general elections.
He said the commission needed the support of security
personnel to secure materials, election records, election space, and evidence
to ensure due diligence in prosecution.
"What often happens is a situation where for lack of
evidence, for lack of proper records, inability of security personnel so involved
to be willing to serve as witnesses, to be willing to come out and support with
what they have recorded and what they have written.
"You will find out at the end of the day, cases are badly
prosecuted or even struck out at frustration by judges and magistrates.
"At the end of the day people who should be in jail go scot
free. What this does is that it emboldens them, both politicians and such
culprits next time to even wreck heinous crime on the system.
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"And this endangers the political space, it endangers
electoral space and it endangers people who actually go out there to exercise
their civil duties.
"So it is actually important that security personnel should
cooperate with us, assist us to deepen this process," he said.
Momoh said with the cooperation of security personnel, the
electoral process stood a better chance of being more credible, while the
peoples’ confidence in a reliable electoral process would be renewed.
The director-general said that the commission would expect security
agents to avert all forms of election violence in the 2015 general election.
"If there are security threats, it will have a fundamental
impact on voter turnout and morale. People are not likely to turn out for any
election where they suspect that there is not going to be security," he said.
According to him, the parameters for monitoring elections
have changed as observers are are now concerned not so much about what the
commission does or failed to do, but about what security agents do or fail to
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Suleiman Abba, who was
represented by Ghazzali Mohammed, the Commissioner of Police in charge of
Election Planning and Monitoring, advised politicians to obey the law.
Abba said that the Nigeria Police in collaboration with
other security agencies in accordance to the Section 117 of the Electoral Act
would deal with anybody found to be fomenting trouble during the elections.
"We are going to deal with anybody that thinks he is above
the law; that is our own; all we say is that the politicians should obey the
law," he said.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the
sidelines of the workshop, Mr Mohammed Haruna, the Director of Operations,
Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corp (NCSDC), described the training as
Haruna said the agencies would ensure that information from
the training reached all relevant officers nationwide.
Present at the workshop were officers from the Nigeria
Police, Federal Road Safety Corp, NSCDC, and the Department of State Security
Others were the Nigerian Immigration Service, the Nigerian
Custom Service, the National Youth Service Corp, the Nigerian Prison Service,
and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.