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2015: We won’t allow hooded security operatives, says Jega

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The Chairman of the Independent National
Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said
on Wednesday that the commission would not
allow security operatives to be masked during
the 2015 general elections.
Jega said this in Abuja during an interactive
session with both local and international civil
society organisations involved in monitoring
elections in the country.
He had on Tuesday, during the public hearing
organised by the House of Representatives on
the bill for the amendment of the Electoral Act,
2010, backed a proposed amendment that
would confer the exclusive power to manage
and assign security men during elections on
INEC.
The bill also sought to limit the role of the
military during elections.
Jega told the CSO representatives on
Wednesday that the emerging trend of security
operatives wearing mask during elections was
worrisome.
According to him, the wearing of hood by
security men during elections is not in tandem
with the principle of transparency guiding the
conduct of an election.
He said, “In recent times, we have witnessed
an increased presence of hooded security
operatives during elections. This is an emerging
trend which is highly worrisome and which
needs to be addressed in good time.
“Security agents who are deployed on election
duties should not be masked, the doctrine of
transparency requires that they should be
identifiable.
“We will not allow such persons during the 2015
elections. Any security personnel deployed for
the election must be someone identifiable such
that if anything happens we will be able to
know who to hold responsiblem
Jega also decried the over-zealousness of some
security agents during the August 9
governorship election in Osun state.
He disclosed that security operatives had
erroneously arrested some members of staff of
the commission and nine youth corp members,
engaged as INEC ad-hoc staff, were
erroneously arrested and kept in detention for
over 12 hours.
He said that they were arrested around 9pm
on the eve of the election while on their way to
the Registration Area Centers, RACs, which was
provided for them by the Commission.
“They were not released until about 6am the
next day, a situation that almost disrupted the
distribution of electoral materials in some
areas.
“It was sheer luck that we still managed to
open the polling units early, otherwise, there
would have been disaster. We took a serious
view of that and reported the matter to all the
appropriate authorities because at a point we
became worried that some persons wanted to
undermine our effort.”
He however maintained that the perceived over
militarization of the just concluded
governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states,
did not deter electorate from voting for their
desired candidate.
He said, “In fact, the two elections proved that
there was a high correlation between the
massive deployment of security and the
willingness of people to come out and vote.
“Apart from over-zealousne…continue

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