NSCDC will not tolerate attacks on INEC offices- Audi

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The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr Ahmed Audi, has said that the continued attacks of offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in parts of the country would no longer be tolerated.

Audi also that the Corps would be evolving strategies in collaboration with other sister security agencies to ensure that elections were peacefully conducted in the South East, even as he disclosed that all men and officers of NSCDC would be deployed in states countrywide the elections.

Speaking at a 2-day capacity-building workshop in Abuja for all State Commandants and the Corps’ strategic managers ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Comptroller General of the NSCDC, said his agency would ensure that voters, domestic observers, election sensitive materials and electoral officers’ safety and security were well coordinated.

Audi, who admitted that the Southeast had a peculiar security challenge toward next month’s elections, said: “I cannot disclose strategies in the open but be rest assured that we are working with other security agencies to ensure that elections are peacefully heard in the South east.”

Audi asked the State Commandants of the NSCDC to ensure safety of INEC office in their territories, warning that his leadership won’t tolerate any attack again.”

He said: “We must protect INEC offices nationwide. We must give both physical support and otherwise to all the INEC offices in our care. We will not take it lightly if we hear of any attack on INEC facilities around your command again.

“With less than five weeks to the general elections, the Corps will release very soon, a revised standard operational guideline on election duties, and other salient election security rules for personnel, which is aimed at ensuring safe and secured electoral processes nationwide.”

He noted that: “In addition to physical security, this strategic management workshop will also develop common policy guidelines that can be used in deepening the capacity of Corps personnel, assist officers and men to comply with global standards of election security management.

“It is my earnest expectation that this workshop will further strengthen our capacity in our preparations ahead of the general elections, build our confidence as strategic commanders, while ensuring that voters, domestic observers, election sensitive materials and electoral officers’ safety and security are well coordinated.”

He noted that the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), had produced a revised code of conduct and rules of engagement for security personnel on electoral duty, adding that “It is expedient that we become conversant with this updated document as strategic commanders and relate the knowledge to our respective subordinates.”

The NSCDC boss lamented that the scepticism raised by Nigerians and foreign diplomats towards the successful conduct of the 2023 polls due to security concerns resulting from attacks on INEC facilities in some parts of the country, as well as facilities of some sister security agencies, occasioned violence in the political rally/campaigns of certain parties, hate speeches between political gladiators, jettisoned media town hall meetings, had generated cause for concern in recent times.

In her welcome address, the Country Representative of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), Mariga Peran, said the present fear for safety amid the rate of attacks on life and property across the country posed a significant threat to the success of the 2023 general elections, compounded by several security-relevant incidents last year like the series of prison breaks with the successful release of terrorists around the country.

Peran said the NSCDC played a vital role among the security agencies engaged with securing the election, hence the training.

She said: “With a good reputation among the citizens, NSCDC enjoys public confidence like hardly any other security agency in Nigeria. Not only the NSCDC committed to advance their skill sets and deliver quality services constantly, you have also early on understood the importance of inter-agency collaboration for the greater good of Nigeria.”

The KAS Country Representative said: “there is need to identify security lapses, hence enabling personnel of security agencies to strengthen their skills and operations for the good electoral conduct, investigation, arrest and prosecution of offenders.”

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