By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA — Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, yesterday, adduced reasons armed military men should be allowed to mount sentry around polling centres during the forthcoming general elections.
Speaking at a dialogue session the commission held with Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, accredited observers and political parties in Abuja, yesterday, Jega, who was represented by a National Commissioner at INEC, Mrs. Amina Zakari, said there was high need for the military to be on standby to forstall possible outbreak of violence within the polling centres.
He, however, stressed that the commission will not allow the use of masked security men during the poll, adding that INEC has already held meetings with all the security agencies in the country.
Nevertheless, the INEC boss noted that constitutionally, the burden of providing security on election day rests with the Nigeria Police Force who he said could request the service of other paramilitary agencies like the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC.
Besides, Jega yesterday disclosed that the electoral body has already distributed over 44 million Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, saying over 90 per cent of the PVCs are in the various states of the federation awaiting collection.
According to him, “we have distributed over 70 per cent of the PVCs, we had no problems with the smaller states, only in the larger states of Lagos, Kano and Borno State which we are still working hard to overcome.”