The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed resolve to continue to collaborate with the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to provide the security capable of guaranteeing transparent elections.
Chairman of the Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, stated this in Abuja Tuesday at a courtesy visit by the NSCDC Commandant General, Dr Ahmed Audi, to the INEC headquarters.
The INEC boss told his guest that the commission has for now restricted the ongoing CVR to only 811 centres being the INEC state and local government offices.
According to Yakubu, the commission would soon devolve the voter registration to 2600 centres nationwide, adding that the reason it has not done so was essentially security.
While commending the Commandant General for deploying for protection of INEC offices, assets and personnel not only at the headquarters but across the country and during elections, he also said the corps had always deployed to provide support when its offices were attacked by hoodlums.
“You have also deployed for the protection of our offices, personnel and other assets across the country not only in the headquarters and you have also deployed during elections for which the commission is most grateful.
“Recently some of our facilities were attacked and these attacks happened all over the country, the security and civil defence corps was always there to provide support to personnel and to critical national asset. Again, we all grateful for all this support that you have given.
“You visit is coming at a time when we have a number of critical activities either planned or ongoing. The first one is the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) and the CVR is now in its 7th week having started on the 28th of June online and then on the 26th of July physical registration commenced.
“We consulted widely with members of Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Elections Security (ICCES) and others before the commission decided to commence the physical registration in our states and local government offices, that is, 811 locations before we then devolve to over 2600 centres that we planned to nationwide.
“The reason why we have not devolved to those centres nationwide is essentially security and on the advice of security agencies, we were told to devolve first to the state and local government offices and then we see how we go further by assessing the security situation.
“And so we have devolved to the state and local governments and so far so good and we will continue to rely on the security and civil defence in providing protection to our personnel and asset and also to register themselves in the CVR.
“The second point is that your visit is coming at a very critical time because on the 6th of November, the commission is conducting a major election in Nigeria- the Anambra governorship election. Members of the ICCES including the Security and Civil Defence Corps are aware of the date fixed for the election and we look forward to partnering with Civil Defence in order to ensure security that will guarantee transparent and credible elections in Anambra.
“Very soon the commission will convene a meeting of ICCES and I look forward to seeing you personally at the meeting, which I believe will be the first meeting your will be attending since your appointment as Commandant of Civil defence.”
The INEC chairman also drew the attention of the NSCDC boss on the bye election in Lere Federal Constituency of Kaduna state fixed for 14th August, adding that the commission looked forward to collaborating with the agency to ensure that the election went well.
Responding, the Commandant General, Dr Audi, assured that his men would not only be present during the registration but also the Anambra and other elections.