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April 21, 2024
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We’ve seen improvements in election security in Nigeria – USIP

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By Diana Omueza

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP), says there has been significant improvement in security of lives and property in the conduct of elections in Nigeria.

Dr Chris Kwaja, USIP Country Director, said this on Thursday in Abuja at a National Dialogue on Election Security Management in Nigeria.

Kwaja said that destruction of electoral materials, injuries and casualties of citizens had declined which was commendable.

“We have seen some improvements in the elections from the perspective of elections security, the number of causalities, injuries, death, destruction of election materials and in the issues around hatred of ethnic, religious, and political lines.

“We see a decline in these areas which is a significant improvement because you can never have 100 per cent in an election and election is the people and the people need to be alive to vote for there to be elections.

“But in terms of some of the discontent around the processes, we are still calling for more improvements, in terms of logistics and the way they are deployed and the delivery of elections,” he said.

He said there was a need to see governments’ efforts in fostering synergy between all election stakeholders, like collaboration between the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies, and the security working with human rights components.

This, he said, would boost voters’ confidence in the electoral processes and confidence in all institutions responsible for the peaceful and credible conduct of an election in the country.

He called for partnerships among the INEC, the media, civil societies, and individuals with technical knowledge on conducting peaceful elections.

“We want to see where INEC will work with the media, work with civil societies and with the communities and individuals who have some level of support to give to ensure credible polls.

“We want to see the role of the society and its approach to the conduct of elections.

“Once we have that it will be very clear and the outcome and process of elections will be accepted by the majority of the people because where the greater number of people are celebrating an election, you can say you have a credible election,” he said.

Kwaja said that the huge connection between the credibility of an election and the security environment should not be undermined.

Mr Peter Gad, Executive Director of Cleen Foundation, said that the dialogue was to review past elections, take stock of failures and progress and make improvements where necessary.

According to him, the meeting is not to name, shame or indict anyone or any institution, but to see errors and make efforts to correct them.

“These meetings are not just for when elections are bad; when elections are good you also need such meetings to know what was done to make the election good and how can you build on that success for future elections. “

National Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, who was represented by his Special Adviser, Mr Kuna Mohammed, lauded the conduct of security agencies in the conduct of personnel in recent elections.

He said that security remained extremely important and that the commission recognised its roles as pivotal.

“It is because of its special position that the commission regards the role of security in the conduct of elections.

“In 2010, the commission set up the inter-agencies consultative committee on election security to coordinate a comprehensive general approach of the commission with provision of election security.

“It is not just to protect only election materials and personnel but also all other stakeholders that participate in the conduct of the election, such as observers, the media and others,” he said.

He said the commission had at least four mechanisms for tracking security cycles.

According to him, they are effective and operational and will continue to work with security agencies, to enhance election security. (NAN)

Edited by Idris Abdulrahman

Philip Daniel Yatai

Principal Correspondent, NAN Abuja
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