To ensure free, fair, credible and successful elections in 2023 general elections in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reiterated its resolve to deploy the services of three armed services – the Army, Navy and Air Force.
INEC described the Nigeria Police Force as the lead agency in election security but Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) will also be drafted as members for the crucial polls, in pursuant of their statutory responsibilities for the clearance and release of materials at seaports and other entry points into the country.
The disclosure was made by NEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, in his address at the inauguration of Electoral Logistics Committee (ELOC) in Abuja, Friday.
Prof. Yaquob said the decision was in line with the new Electoral Act to ensure and facilitate speedy and safe delivery of huge quantities of sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the 2023 general election.
The INEC chairman might be referring to the 2019 general elections when it postponed the presidential election due to logistics, which the commission promised will not happen again.
“I must say from the outset that this committee is distinct from the commission’s Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee (EOLC) which is a standing committee chaired by a National Commissioner. Rather, ELoC is an inter-agency committee established close to a General Election for a specific objective only. It is therefore ad hoc in nature,” he cleared.
He further explained that; “the establishment of the committee is borne out of the commission’s effort to ensure the speedy and safe delivery of huge quantities of sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the 2023 General Election. The logistics for the clearance, handling, custody, delivery and distribution of enormous quantities of election materials is the biggest operation Nigeria undertakes every four years.
“For effective coordination, the commission believes that every national asset must be mobilised. For the movement of election materials and protection of personnel nationwide, Section 27(3) of the Electoral Act 2022 empowers the Commission to seek for the support of the armed forces. Accordingly, the three armed services (Army, Navy and Air Force) are members of ELoC.
“Similarly, the Nigeria Police Force, being the lead agency in election security, is also a member as well as the sister security agencies. The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) are also members pursuant to their statutory responsibilities for the clearance and release of materials at seaports and other entry points into the country,” he said.