The Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC ) has revealed that it needs no fewer than 1.2million personnel, including security agents, to conduct the 2019 general elections.
Professor Mahmood Yakubu, INEC’s Chairman, who stated this on Friday in Kano, said over 360,000 security personnel are needed to man polling units across the country during the elections.
Yakubu spoke through the chairman Board of the Electoral Institute (BEI) Dr. Sa’ad Idris at the election security personnel training of trainers.
The training was organised by INEC in collaboration with European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) and the European Union (EU).
The INEC boss pointed out that Nigeria is the second largest democracy in the world with 84 million registered voters, and the largest in Africa. He appealed to security agencies to provide conducive atmosphere for credible elections, urging them not to live any stone unturned while performing their duties.
“Election is supposed to be a civil exercise so you have to conduct yourself in such a manner that the electorate will not be scared of you.”
He said the training on election security is very important as it will serve to equip the security personnel with knowledge of the Nigerian electoral process, electoral environment, electoral laws and guidelines and the risk elements inherent or associated with them.
“Therefore, I implore participants to take the training seriously as it will deepen your standard Electoral Operation Guidelines and create a harmonise relationship amongst security agencies on election duty,” he said.
Rudolf Elbling, the ECES Project Director, who was represented by Paul Anderson, the ECES Senior Media and Communications Advisor, noted that conducting hitch-free and credible elections required a peaceful environment devoid of threats to lives and properties.
“Election officials can only discharge their responsibilities of organising elections, including deployment and retrieval of materials in a secured environment.
“Voters also require a peaceful environment to be able to come out and vote during elections without fear of intimidation and harassment,” he stated.
The ECES boss added that for the 2019 general election to be successful, “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 expanse and some difficult terrain, he pointed out.