November 11, 2010

2011: INEC urged to deploy soldiers

By Kenneth Ehigiator

For there to be peaceful and credible elections in 2011, Right Monitoring Group, RMG, has urged the Federal Government to deploy soldiers to assist the police in providing security for the electorate and voting materials.

According to the group, the elections will run into a hitch arising from violence if only the police is deployed  to provide security.

National Coordinator of RMG, Mr. Akin Aduwo, told Vanguard in an interview in Lagos, yesterday, that beside providing security, the military also has the advantage of providing efficient logistics for movement of men and materials, which the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, could tap from.

Aduwo, who noted that his group’s recommendation was based on the experience it garnered from monitoring the general elections in Ghana, U.S. and the United Kingdom, said the Ghanaian election would have gone more violent had soldiers not been deployed to provide security.

He said: “I laugh when I hear Nigerians speak so glowingly about the elections in Ghana. There was violence and  people were killed and houses were burnt during that election.  But eventually, the election turned out successful because soldiers were deployed to monitor it; otherwise, more people would have been killed and more houses burnt.

“The situation was not different in the U.S. elections which we monitored in 2008. Armed National Guard operatives monitored the elections in the U.S.  This is because of the U.S. government’s realisation of the new trend in military-civil relations, which promotes military involvement in maintaining internal peace and security.”

He said as an election monitoring group, RMG was duty bound to assist INEC with this recommendation, stressing that conduct of free, fair and credible elections in the country was not the duty of only INEC, but also of all Nigerians, including politicians.