By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—CHAIRMAN, National Peace Committee and former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd), has expressed worry over the growing insecurity in the country, saying the development had assumed a worrisome dimension.
He spoke as Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, observed that insecurity would be a major challenge for the commission in the conduct of the 2019 elections.
Abubakar charged security agencies and other stakeholders in the nation’s democracy to show commitment to the successful conduct of the 2019 general election.
Speaking at Nigeria Police/Stakeholders’ Security Summit on “Election Security: Collaboration Between The Nigeria Police and Other Stakeholders Towards the Success of the 2019 General Election,” Abubakar noted that the ongoing security situation in the country calls for deeper worry by well-meaning Nigerians and tasked stakeholders to work in conjunction with security agencies to maintain security before, during and after the coming general election.
He said: “Collaboration between Nigeria Police and other stakeholders towards the success of the 2019 general election is key.
“For security to be guaranteed, it is fundamental that the stakeholders and Nigeria Police must show commitment towards a successful election. The current fragile security situation in the country should be a source of concern to all Nigerians, especially the leaders.
“In order to achieve peace and security, it is necessary that all stakeholders, most especially the political class, traditional and religious leaders, and all Nigerians collaborate with the Nigeria Police, which is the supervisory institution in maintaining internal security in the country.”
Insecurity our major challenge for 2019 polls —INEC
Speaking also on the occasion, Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed that the electoral umpire will work with the Nigeria Police on the parameter to be used for the deployment of personnel during the 2019 general election.
He noted that security would be a major issue during the general election, adding that the rules of engagement of personnel would be clear.
He said: “INEC will be solely in charge of all elections while the police will be in charge of security.”
He said the commission will work with security agencies to prosecute those involved in electoral malpractices during the election.
He appealed to stakeholders, especially non-governmental organisations, NGOs, traditional rulers to help mobilise the electorate to collect their Permanent Voters’ Cards, PVCs, before the election.
Yakubu reassured of the commission’s readiness to conduct free, fair and credible election in 2019.
“We shall continue to work with the security agencies to prosecute violators during elections,” he said.
On his part, President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated this commitment to a free and fair 2018 electiion.
The President, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Interior, said: “I attach much important to the stakeholders meeting. It is our firm belief that the election will be successful, free and transparent. Twenty years of democratic experience is enough for us to get our elections right.
“The election will go down in the memory of Nigeria as the most peaceful and transparent election. To achieve this, the Nigeria Police must earn the confidence of Nigerians. And this can only be done by maintaining a high level of professionalism devoid of partiality and partisanship. It must erase the perception of being seen as an agent of intimidation and coercion.”