ABUJA – Nigerians United for Democracy, a civil society organisation, on Thursday urged the Federal Government to be impartial in its deployment of security agencies for the March 28 Presidential/National Assembly elections.
Managing Director of the organisation, Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, said this while addressing a news conference on the deployment of security agents for the elections.
He said that the organisation was concerned about the role of security agencies in the conduct of elections, stressing that maintaining neutrality would guarantee safety during and after the polls.
“The Nigerians United for Democracy is concerned about the deployment of security agencies during the polls.
“Reports reaching us indicate that the deployment of security agencies in some states is influenced by partisan considerations.
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“We expect that deployment for the elections would be unbiased and we call on the Federal Government to remain impartial,’’ he said.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]
Nwagwu called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Suleiman Abba, to respect already adopted positions by the relevant authorities on the conduct of voters and officials during the elections.
He said security agencies must respect all provisions of the electoral act concerning the conduct of security agents during and after the elections.
The managing director said that the role of the police and other agencies must be confined to the protection of lives and property during and after the elections.
He said troops should not be deployed to polling stations on Election Day as enshrined in the relevant sections of the nation’s laws.
Nwagwu said that the responsibility of providing security during and after the elections rested with the police and not any other security agency.
He said deploying the military to polling units was against the provisions of the law and was inimical to the growth of democracy in Nigeria.
He said that the military was not Nigeria’s first line of defence and should only be deployed to the streets and not polling centres.
However, Nwagwu expressed optimism that the military and other security agents deployed for election duty would maintain their neutrality throughout the elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that two Federal High Courts in Sokoto and Lagos, respectively, ruled recently against the deployment of troops for the elections.
NAN also recalls that the Federal Government had defended its stand on the deployment of troops for the elections, explaining that the troops would be deployed to 300 meters from polling stations. (NAN)