2023: Election security critical to advancement of democratic culture – IGP

As the nation prepares for the 2023 general elections, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Baba, has said that election security was critical to the advancement of democratic culture across the free world.

The police boss stated this while speaking during an election security management workshop convened by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to educate police personnel, the military, paramilitary, and the public, their duties before, during and after the elections, Thursday, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

He noted that in Nigeria, by virtue of the Electoral Act 2022 (As amended), the Nigeria Police Force was the lead agency in the election security process.

According to IGP Baba not less than 400 trainees drawn from different security agencies would undergo the training in Abuja and in the six geo-political zones across the country.

He said: “Election security governance is critical to the advancement of democratic culture across the free world. In Nigeria, by virtue of the Electoral Act 2022 (As amended), the Nigeria Police Force is the lead agency in the election security process. The Force is, however, complemented by the Military, Intelligence community, and other security and safety agencies.

“The import of this is that the success of every election is determined not just by the strength of the legal framework regulating the course, but by a few other key variables.

“Over the years, there have been questions on the professional capacity of the Nigeria Police and other security agencies in relation to the performance of their election security mandate.

“In addressing these concerns, efforts have been consistently made by the office of the National Security Adviser, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and successive leaderships of the Nigeria Police and these have translated into improved election security operations by the Nigeria Police as evidenced by our widely commended performances during the 2019 General Elections and recent off-season elections in Edo, Anambra, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun States.”

Speaking further he said, “Mindful of its critical role in the election security value chain, and conscious of the need to continually broaden its professional knowledge and operational capacity with a view to closing the knowledge gap that could inhibit the optimal delivery of our election security mandate the leadership of the Nigeria Police found it expedient to expose personnel to tailor-made training ahead of the 2023 General Elections. This informed the concept of this Workshop.

“This initiative which is being delivered under the theme – ‘The 2023 General Elections: Enhancing National Security Capacity for a Secure and Credible Electoral Process in Nigeria’ is part of the broad action plans of the Force leadership to prepare Police personnel for the general elections in 2023.

“It is a Train-the-Trainer Workshop in which participating officers will be supported to transfer the knowledge to be acquired to wider sets of personnel in their Areas of Jurisdiction.

“Under this phase about four hundred officers will be trained across the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT. For ease of participation, the exercise has been decentralized and will hold in centres across the six  geo-political zones of the country from 4th – 31st August, 2022. The centres comprise of Abuja for North Central; Benin-City for South South; Borno for North East; Enugu for South East; Ibadan for South West, and Kano for North West.”

Also speaking, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno, rtd, said the president has directed the security agencies to tackle the current insecurity across the country inorder to ensure the success of the 2023 general elections.

Also speaking, Chief of Defence staff General Lucky Irabor, said the Nigeria military will work with the NPF to ensure the success of 2023 elections.

He also pledged that the military will uphold and defend the Nigeria constitution during and after the elections.

In the same vein, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu said they will participate in the training and work with the police and other security agencies to ensure free, fair and credible elections.

The workshop with theme: “Enhancing National Security Capacity For A Secure And Credible Electoral Process In Nigeria” was organised by the Force and solar security and consult limited had top serving military and police officers, former IGPs, the paramilitary, media executives in attendance.

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