By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu
Centre for Law Enforcement Education in Nigeria (CLEEN) has conducted a two-day capacity building workshop for police officers in the Southeast on election security management for the forthcoming general elections in Aba.
In an address delivered by the Executive Director ofthe group, Benson Olugbuo (PhD) and read by one of the project managers, Mrs Chigozirim Okoro, the group reminded the police that the forthcoming general elections present an opportunity for Nigerians and the international community to measure and rate the standard of the Nigerian police, adding that “we expect the police to be professional in handling the elections”.
” As the country prepares for general elections in a few days from now, there is the likelihood that some part of the country will experience some electoral violence as we have seen in the past,” Olugbuo explained.
The group said it conducted a nationwide survey between October and December last year. The essence of the survey was to identify electoral risks that are likely to affect the 2019 general elections to enable election stakeholders, including INEC, security agencies and civil society organizations deploy appropriate responses.
While the survey examined potential security threats to the 2019 general elections across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, it was identified that vite buying is the foremost of the fourteen factors that could generate tension or electoral violence.
Another factor identified by majority of the respondents across the 36 states that could generate electoral violence is the citizen’s disaffection with government either on economic considerations or policy grounds .Also, political parties, religious extremists, cultists,and other armed groups, conduct of security agents, hate speech, drug abuse, exclusion of certain groups on the bases of age, gender and religious identity, media partisanship, were other actors likely to cause electoral violence.
In his address, Abia Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr.Joseph Valentine Iloh, Senior Legal Officer,observed that “through intensive , extensive ,and aggressive mobilisation and sensitisation of the people of Abia, voter apathy was removed and a total number of registered voters in the state currently 1,933,974.
According to Iloh,” It is interesting to inform our distinguished participants that Abia State registered a total number of 579, 799 after the continuous voter registration that was suspended in August,2018″.
“This impressive figure placed Abia State 3rd in the whole federation after Lagos and Rivers State, respectively. This achievement was as a result of all stakeholders, including the mass media.
The commission therefore appealed to police officers who will be involved in the elections to help ensure a peaceful atmosphere.
CLEEN Foundation is a leading Non-Governmental Organization in Nigeria promoting public safety, security, justice, research,and advocac throughout the nation.