By Evelyn Usman
Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has charged security agencies in the country to display the highest level of neutrality and professionalism during the 2011 general elections, particularly in the area of apprehension of offenders irrespective of their status.
Lagos State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Adetunde Ogunmola, who gave the charge in his address entitled 2011 General Election: The Role of Citizens, Security Agencies and the Press, in Lagos, said that the success or failure of the forthcoming elections will depend on the conduct and performance of security agencies on election day.
However, in exercising its statutory functions, Ogunmola, who was represented by Mr. Ijeoma, noted that the Commission had issued guidelines on the conduct and services expected of security agencies on election duties.
The guidelines which consist of functions and power of security agencies, include prevention and detection of crime, apprehension of offenders, preservation of law and order, protection of life and property and enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are charged.
He said: “Events during the build-up to elections might have raised public fear about safety and security of those participating in the exercise. This anxiety is heightened by the turbulent history of transition from one civilian government to another in Nigeria. It is, therefore, essential for security agencies to display the highest level of integrity and sense of duty in order to reassure voters that their safety and security are guaranteed.
“Alertness , approachability , professionalism, no use of force, communication with supervisors and commander, awareness of Electoral Act 2010, reporting, wearing of identification tags and collaboration are the guidelines to be observed by security agencies.”