Ahead of February general elections, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has organised a 2-day capacity building workshop for all State Commandants and the Corps’ strategic managers to ensure a hitch-free 2023 general elections.
The two-day training organised in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, tagged, “Preparing for the 2023 General Elections: NSCDC Capacity Building Training,” began on Wednesday in Abuja.
NSCDC Commandant General (CG), Dr. Ahmed Audi, said that the strategic management workshop is aimed at developing common policy guidelines that can be used in deepening the capacity of personnel.
He maintained that the Corps will ensure that voters, domestic observers, election-sensitive materials, and electoral officers’ safety and security are well coordinated.
Also, that plans are underway to release a revised standard operational guideline on election duties and other salient election security rules for personnel to ensure a secured national electoral process.
He charged all personnel to actively protect all offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as any State Commandant with reports of an attack on any INEC facility in their state of operation will face sanction.
“We must protect INEC offices because they are critical national assets and the Corps will not take it lightly if we hear that INEC offices are attacked in any domain headed by any of you,” he warned.
Audi cautioned that it is important for officers to acquaint themselves with the new electoral law for a seamless operation during the election.
He stated that, according to the new Electoral Act, NSCDC personnel could arrest electoral offenders and conduct thorough investigations but cannot prosecute the suspects.
“You must go through the Electoral Act carefully because a section of the Act says that we can arrest and do a thorough investigation but INEC is saddled with the right to prosecute, hence the need for a scientific synergy.
“The Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) has produced a revised code of conduct and rules of engagement for security personnel on electoral duty.
“It is expedient that we become conversant with this updated document as strategic commanders and relate the knowledge to our respective subordinates,” he advised.
According to him, security threats in the country had been curtailed due to proactive measures taken by security agencies, hence the need to continue the proactiveness before, during, and after the elections.
Audi said that although ensuring security in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria had been a peculiar problem, security agencies had developed certain strategies that cannot be disclosed to the public.
He went ahead to say that the Corps is ready to deploy as many personnel needed to ensure security during the elections, noting that the Nigeria Police Force is however the lead agency during election security.
“So, we are working very closely with them and other stakeholders in achieving an effective electoral security management objective within the election’s timeline.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that the Corps must protect critical assets, citizens, be apolitical and endeavor not to disenfranchise citizens.
The Resident Representative of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Nigeria, Marija Peran, said that it’s of global concern that the insecurity rate in the country might deter the integrity of the 2023 general elections.
Peran said the NSCDC plays a vital role among the security agencies engaged with securing the election, hence the training.
“With a good reputation among the citizens, NSCDC enjoys public confidence more than any other security agency in Nigeria,” she said.
She commended the NSCDC for its commitment to advance their skill sets, deliver quality services constantly and for having a good understanding of 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 good electoral conduct, investigation, arrest and prosecution of offenders.”
Konrad Adenauer Stiftung is an organisation promoting democracy, good governance and rule of law that supports security sector reforms.
Peran however said that the level of proactiveness by security agencies in the country is impressive and the election process is experiencing a level of preparedness that is unprecedented.