The Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources of the African Union held its first Aquatic Biodiversity Conservation Project Steering Committee on September 22-23, 2022 in Mombasa, Kenya.
They were attended by the Embassy of Sweden to the African Union; Hon Representatives of the Governments of Egypt, Gabon, Ivory Coast, and the representative of the Hon. min.
by Fisheries and Blue Economy, Kenya.
In addition, there were the Regional Economic Communities, the Regional Fisheries Organisms, the organization of Networks in Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Centers of Excellence of the AU.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Dr. Nick Nwankpa, Acting Director of AU-IBAR, on behalf of H.E. Commissioner The Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment, Ambassador Yosefa Sacko, expressed his gratitude to the Government of Sweden for taking the giant step to address key issues in the African blue economy, especially in relation to the conservation of aquatic biodiversity.
He noted: "This is by far an important intervention to support the implementation of the African Blue Economy Strategy.
Given that the African continent is losing a conservative estimate of around US$10 billion a year due to illegal fishing , unreported and unregulated, and also faces aquatic environmental problems.
pollution and habitat degradation leading to ecosystem dysfunction, this support could not have come at a better time.
This support is also important to align with the development aspirations of the African Union encapsulated in the AU Agenda 2063".
Some of the outcomes of the meeting included: • The adoption of the Terms of Reference for the Technical Committee of the Project, the President and the Secretariat • Better knowledge of the project activities that were presented to the Steering Committee • Feedback on the status of the implementation of the project, including the progress in the implementation of the activities and the challenges made known to the members of the committee • Information on planned and ongoing activities by relevant partners disclosed to committee members • Approval of recommendations for the strategic direction of the developed Project Some of the modalities discussed to better strengthen the Project was the need to develop evaluation criteria for the next identification of Centers of Excellence (CoE) to ensure that sustainability aspects are addressed from the outset.
Another recommendation was that the evaluation detail the CoE's ability to institutionalize, tame, personalize, and include aspects of posterity in the development of the core curriculum.
The meeting further discussed the role of RECs in strengthening Project implementation by establishing partnerships and networks during project implementation to increase impact on the ground.
The meeting discussed many topical issues, key being IUU fishing as a critical challenge in the member states of the African Union.
There was consensus that more resources should be made available to address the problem of IUU fishing in marine and inland waters.
It was also recognized that institutions such as the FAO and the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) have data on IUU fishing.
Outcomes would be achieved to improve data sharing with other institutions to transfer knowledge and build capacity.
Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) was seen as a necessity to accelerate IUU issues, and limited skills and knowledge on MCS could be overcome by sharing institutional information from the list of experts and recommendations of experts with qualifications and competence in MCS.
Speaking at the end of the meeting, Dr. Kouadio N'gandi Jean-Serge, Technical Advisor, representing the Minister of Animal and Fishery Resources of Côte d'Ivoire, Mr. Sidi Tiemoko Toure noted the important role of the Project in improving of the political environment, regulatory frameworks and institutional capacities of the Member States of the AU and the Regional Economic Communities to use and conserve biodiversity and aquatic ecosystems in a sustainable manner.
The meeting was preceded by the Meeting of the Technical Committee of the Aquatic Biodiversity Conservation Project that took place from September 20 to 21, 2022 in the same place.
The Senate has reassured that it will pass the Electoral Offences Bill for assent by President Muhammadu Buhari before the 2023 general election.
Sen. Kabiru Gaya, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC), stated this on Tuesday at the screening of 19 nominees for INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Abuja.
” The National Assembly is unswavering in making sure that the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) , succeed in the conduct of the 2023 general election .
” It will interest you to know that the National Electoral Offences Bill is presently being worked on by a technical Committee in the House of Representatives, the legislative intent is to ensure that INEC concentrates on the administration of elections.
“To ensure that electoral offenders are brought to book to deter others and build a positive electoral culture for our nation,” he said.
He said preparation for the 2023 elections was in top gear as the National Assembly was committed to supporting INEC for credible election.
Buhari had in July forwarded the names of the 19 nominees to the National Assembly for confirmation as INEC RECs. Some of them included Ibrahim Abdullahi (Adamawa); Obo Effanga (Cross River); Umar Ibrahim (Taraba); Agboke Olaleke (Ogun); and Samuel Egwu (Kogi), Onyeka Ugochi (Imo); Muhammad Bashir (Sokoto) and Ayobami Salami ( Oyo State).
The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kwara has issued the guidelines on the commencement of campaigns for the 2023 general election.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Malam Garba Attahiru, announced this on Monday in Ilorin during a stakeholders meeting.
Attahiru, who was represented by the INEC Administrative Secretary, Mr Julius Yagba, said that 14 activities have bernsuccesfully implemented, as INEC published the final list of nominated candidates on Sept. 20, 2022.He said the next activity in line is the commencement of campaigns by the political parties on Sept. 28.He added that the meeting was designed to remind all stakeholders about the responsibilities and expectations during the carnpaigns for various offices.
According to him, the offices of the President and National Assembly campaigns will start on Sept. 28, and the Governorship and State House of Assembly is on Oct.12.“Relying on Section 92 of the Electoral Act, 2022, the commission expects the political campaigns to be civil, devoid of abusive language and without any rancour.
“Section 92 of the Electoral Act 2022 forbids any political campaign or slogan tainted with abusive language directly or indirectly or one likely to injure religious, ethnic, tribal or sectional feelings.
“Therefore abusive, intemperate, slanderous or base language or insinuations or innuendoes intended or iikely to provoke violent reactions or emotion should be avoided.
“Parties and candidates are to avoid training or enlisting the services of individuals or groups, e.
g. masquerades, for the purpose of adopting physical force or coercion in a manner likely to arouse apprehension during campaigns,” the REC said.
He therefore warned politicians against the use of armed private security organisations during campaigns or election processions.
He also enjoined political parties and their candidates to comply with these provisions as contravening them will attract sanctions.
He said that any political party, aspirant or candidate who contravened Section 92 of the Act would be fined N1 million or 12 months imprisonment.
He however said a political party that contravened the provision of Section 92 would be fined N2 million and N1 million for any subsequent offence.
He said further that any candidate or aspirant who equipped any person or group to display physical force commit an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N500,000 or three years imprisonment.
He urged the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies to monitor the campaign process as well as ensure efficient and effective deployment of personnel for peaceful electioneering.
THE out-of-court settlement embarked upon by parties in a N5 billion libel suit instituted by the immediate past Resident Electoral Commission (REC) in Akwa Ibom, Mike Igini, has failed in a Benin High Court presided over by Justice Vestee Eboreime The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Igini had dragged retired Col. David Imuse and two others to court over a media report where the Edo APC chairman allegedly accused the former REC of receiving bribe from Gov. Godwin Obaseki ahead of the 2020 governorship election in Edo. Also joined in the suit are the African Newspapers of Nigeria PLC, publishers of the Tribune titles of Newspapers and the Sun Publishing Ltd, publishers of the Sun titles of Newspapers.
Counsel to Imuse, Austin Osarenkhoe had at the last adjournment on Aug. 4 made an oral application for the out-of-court settlement.
However, on the resumed hearing on Monday, Clement Onwuwuenor, SAN, counsel to the Igini, told the court that an agreement could not be reached as settlement broke down due to unsatisfactory terms of resolutions brought forth by Imuse, the first defendant in the case.
Consequent to the collapse of this alternative dispute resolution, counsel to the three defendants had to proceed with cross-examination of Igini, who had earlier been led on evidence and presented his exhibits at the last hearing.
Igini under the cross-examination admitted that the newspapers sought his reaction before they published, but noted that the reaction was not enough to malign his integrity.
On an application for extension of time to file statement of defence by the APC Chairman, Justice Eboreime ordered the first defendant to file his defence within 48 hours, having defaulted in the process.
The judge awarded a cost N50,000 against the defendant to the claimant for the defaulting the earlier order of the court on the statement of defence.
The judge adjourned until Nov. 15 and Nov. 16 for continuation of hearing.
Speaking to newsmen later, Igini’s Counsel, Onwuwuenor, said negotiations for the out-of-settlement broke down because Imuse failed to offer substantial proposal, but noted, however, his client was still open to settlement out of court.
Osarenkhoe on his own said, his client could not meet the terms of settlement gave by the claimant because they were too stringent.
Osarenkhoe, however, noted that both parties were still disposed to settlement.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged political parties to adhere strictly with the Electoral Act as amended during the 2023 electioneering process.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Dr Alalibo Johnson, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Cross River, made the appeal at a meeting in Calabar on Thursday.
According to the REC, political parties are expected to observe the threshold of campaign expenditure as provided by law under sections 87 to 89 of the electoral Act 2022, as INEC will not condone violation of these provisions.
While noting that campaigns for the Presidential and National Assembly would commence on Sept. 28, he said Political parties must avoid the use of foul language among others.
According to him, “campaign which commences in the public from September 28” 2022, for the Presidential and National Assembly elections nationwide, will be expected to follow the law strictly.
“Political parties and politicians must avoid use of foul languages, attack or use of force on opposition , employment of private security organizations by whatever name called or in whatever guise, violent activities of any kind and other electoral offences.
” He disclosed that Election and Political Parties Monitoring Department (EPM) of the commission was poised to track such in their campaign tracking activities.
Meanwhile, Johnson has disclosed that there were still more than 90,000 uncollected Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
The REC reiterated the need for Political Parties to mobilise their members and other stakeholders to collect their PVCs. The political parties who spoke through the chairman of the Young Progressives Party, Mr Anthony Attah, promised that they would work with the commission to ensure fre, fair and credible poll in 2023. NAN reports that 17 parties in the state, including APC and PDP, attended the meeting.
Growing Africa’s aviation market through single air transport arrangement Growing Africa’s aviation market through single air transport arrangement By Gabriel Agbeja, News Agency of Nigeria The Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) is a flagship project of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063. It is an initiative by the AU to create a unified air transport market in Africa.
The single market is meant to allow significant freedom of air transport in Africa to aid the AU’s Agenda 2063 of transforming Africa into the global powerhouse.
It is believed to serve as a manifestation of pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity under Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.
Many aviation experts have observed that SAATM will bring about enhanced connectivity across the continent leading to sustainable development of the aviation and tourism industry with immense contribution to economic growth, job creation, prosperity and integration across Africa.
They say active cooperation between eligible airlines and other Air Transport Service Providers in different Regional Economic Communities (RECs) will grows the industry.
Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, the Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission (AUC), said in a SAATM document on Flying Agenda 2063, that establishing SAATM is an effort toward “building the Africa we want.
“ Abou-Zeid, who was in charge of sectors covering Energy, Transport, Tourism and ICT, said the initiative was expected to enhance air connectivity across the continent to reduce the journey and waiting times for most passengers by more than 20 per cent.
According to her, the vision will induce competition in air services resulting in fare reduction and contribute to the growth of the tourism industry in Africa and job creations in both sectors.
“SAATM is the first flagship project of AU and it was launched and established on the 28th January 2018, during the 30th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“The development is critical to the African Union’s integration agenda.
“Particularly, it is a crucial logistic infrastructure for the successful operation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA), complemented by the protocol on the free movement of people and goods and the African Passport,“ she said.
The commissioner said the AUC had the mandate to deliver both projects for the benefit of Africans.
According to her, Africa today accounts for less than four per cent of the global world aviation traffic in spite of being home to no fewer than one billion people.
She is optimistic that Africa’s market share of the sector will increase to more than 10 per cent with a fully operational single African air transport market.
Some experts contend that over all, the project would boost Africa’s economy.
Mr Muhammad Albakri, the Regional Vice President Africa and Middle East, International African Air Transport Market (IATA), says African governments will enjoy $1.3 billion incremental Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on the continent adding that no fewer than 155,000 new jobs would be created.
According to him, passengers will enjoy a 75 per cent increase in direct services, fare savings of 25 to 35 per cent while air transport would be available to at least 5 million additional potential travelers.
He said that under the leadership of African Union and African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) with commitment of strong associations, Africa’s time had come to have its chunk of the aviation market.
Similarly, stakeholders at the maiden National Aviation Conference in Nigeria recommended that responsible agencies in aviation industry not satisfied with modalities for the implementation of SAATM project should approach AFCAC for redress.
In recognition of the fact that in deed there are still challenges facing the implementation of the scheme, the authorities say those issues are receiving adequate attention.
Mr Abderahmane Berthe, the Secretary General of African Airline Association (AFRAA), said the association, in collaboration with IATA, AU, AFCAC and Regional Economic Communities, is at the forefront of advocacy on the effective implementation of the SAATM.
According to him, a detailed action plan has been developed that focuses on key pillars to ensure that the aviation industry achieves the milestone for the prosperity of aviation sector in Africa.
“AFRAA urges States that have signed up to go a step further to ensure they create an enabling operating environment for airlines so that they may realise the maximum potential of the SAATM and take advantage of benefits that aviation brings.
“We continue our collaborative efforts towards successful realization of SAATM with aim of achieving far-sighted vision of a SAATM that will help spur the development of African aviation,” he said.
The dream of a single aviation market in Africa is impossible if all the stakeholders do not see it from the same prism hen Group Capt. John Ojikutu, a former Commandant of the Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Nigeria has canvased for effective collaborations among relevant organisations in the aviation sector across the continent.
Ojikutu also called for unity among member states to actualise objectives of SAATM and AfCTA initiatives.
“These African Economic or Commercial Organisations can work effectively only if there is unity among the member nations, “ he said.
According to him, stakeholders should deepen efforts toward achieving aims of SAATM and AfCTA.
He frowned at national airlines in the regions going into alliances with airlines outside the African continent.
“Why some people in Nigeria think of partnering with foreign airlines outside Africa but on the same Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) route with us?
“Do those in the administration and management of our government agencies with international relationships really know what to look for?
Is it benefits for all or for themselves?
“ he asked.
Ojikutu observed that if the African citizens did not know what they were want, it will be difficult to expect anything special from SAATM and AfCTA.
Mr James Odaudu, Special Assistant on Public Affairs to the Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, said the main goal of the SAATM is to fully implement the 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision (YD).
The YD is a treaty adopted by many African Union members.
It establishes a framework for the librasation of air transport services between African countries and towards a fair competition among airlines operating in Africa.
Odaudu is optimistic that Nigeria will maximise benefits of these opportunities with the emergence of its own national carrier.
“The YD provides for the full liberation of intra-African exercise of first, second, third, fourth and fifth freedom traffic rights for passenger and freight air services by eligible airlines.
“Nigeria is a very large market that everyone wants to exploit.
But then you don’t have a national carrier to go into those countries to exploit opportunities the same way they do ours.
“This is an issue that the soon-to-take-off national carrier will address, “he said.
Experts say the extent to which these initiatives benefit the African continent is dependent on the political will among its leaders, understanding and steadfastness on the side of operators as the compete with one another in the industry.
(NANFeatures) **If used please credit the writer and the News Agency of Nigeria.
Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River has challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure conduct of free, fair and credible elections in Cross River.
The Governor gave the challenge on Wednesday in Calabar when he received the new Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Dr Alalibo Johnson.
Ayade, however, assured the INEC of peaceful atmosphere before and during the 2023 general elections in the state.
He noted that given the new REC’s track records and integrity, he had no doubt he would deliver.
According to him, “On behalf of the good people of Cross River State, l hereby give you that commitment that we will guarantee you free and safe elections.
“We also call on the INEC to please honour its pledge too so that we can have free, fair, credible, reliable and dependable elections.
“Government is not going to in any way influence your process, but we want to say that we are available and willing to support you at all times that INEC will so require our services.
” Ayade commended the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu “who has distinguished himself in this country”.
Speaking further, he said “Never before have we had an INEC Chairman who has enjoyed the mutual trust from both the ruling party and the opposition parties.
“This is one chairman who has conducted his elections and results returned based on what is on the ground.
“He is not subject to any inducement, he is subject to the God that he serves and l want to say that his name would go down in history as one of the very best INEC Chairmen that we have ever had.
God bless him and God will continue to sustain him.
” Earlier in his speech, the new REC who harped on the need for a conducive atmosphere, noted that it is what is needed for free and fair elections to thrive.
“There is no way we can conduct a free and fair election without security.
We call on you to use your good offices to ensure that we have peace in the state.
“Peace in the sense that people can move freely to vote for candidates of their choice, and also, we at the back end of INEC can do our job without intimidation,” he stated.
The REC disclosed that about 90,000 uncollected PVCs were listed across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state and appealed to the registrants to come forward and pick up their PVCs. He also said that with the creation of new polling units, Cross River now had 3,281 Polling units.
The Rufus Ebegba Centre for Leadership and Environmental Sustainability (REC) has called on the general public and political candidates contesting in the 2023 general elections to ensure a peaceful, free and fair election.
The founder of REC, Dr Rufus Ebegba said this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.
Ebegba said there is need for the candidates and the electorates to ensure that the electoral process is peaceful and violence free to ensure a proper democratic transition.
“Civic space, public participation, fundamental freedoms and a violence-free environment are critical to foster inclusive engagement in the electoral process and the exercise of political rights.
”The use of abusive language and disrespect for opponents’ views should be avoided,” he said.
Ebegba said it is important for Nigerians to reject violence and political tension during the campaign.
He added that hate speech by candidates and their supporters, have a dangerous potential to ignite flames of violence.
Ebegba urged all parties to uphold the rights to political participation, freedoms of assembly, opinion and expression, and to respect the role of an independent electoral body.
”All those involved in the electoral process must commit themselves to peaceful conduct prior, during and after elections.
“Candidates and political parties must refrain from using inflammatory languages which may lead to violence and human rights abuses.
“Successful elections are key to mitigating the security challenges and other economic malaise bedeviling the country,” he said.
The founder urged all leaders and candidates to make it clear to their supporters that violence has no place in democratic elections.
”They should not incite, support or engage in any kind of violence before, during, or after the votes are counted,” Ebegba said.
He called on Nigerians to peacefully express their views and to reject the voices of those calling for violence.
Ebegba assured that when elections are free and fair, it is the responsibility of all citizens to help keep the peace, no matter who wins.
A coalition of nine notable Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and partners have advocated for review of the 19 Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) nominees.
The coalition CSOs are : Yiaga Africa, International Press Center (IPC), Center for Media and Society (CMS), The Albino Foundation (TAF), Elect Her, Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), Partners for Electoral Reform (PER), Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) and The Kukah Centre.
Mr Lanre Arogundade of IPC at a news conference on Friday in Abuja, said the call was necessary to address some issues.
According to Arogundade, the Nigerian Senate, on July 26, announced President Buhari’s appointment of 19 RECs following the expiration of the tenure of the outgone RECs in 19 states.
He said that out of the 19 nominated RECs, 14 were new appointments, while five were reappointed.
He listed the new nominees to include: Pauline Onyeka Ugochi, Imo, Muhammad Bashir ,Sokoto, Prof. Ayobami Salami ,Oyo Zango Abdu ,Katsina, Queen Elizabeth Agwu ,Ebonyi , Agundu Tersoo Benue and Yomere Oritsemlebi from Delta.
Others are: Prof. Yahaya Ibrahim, Kaduna, Dr. Nura Ali , Kano, Agu Sylvia ,Enugu, Ahmed Garki , FCT, Hudu Yunusa ,Bauchi, Prof. Uzochukwu Chijioke, Anambra, and Mohammed Nura ,Yobe.The reappointed nominees include Ibrahim Abdullahi (Adamawa); Obo Effanga (Cross River); Umar Ibrahim (Taraba); Agboke Olaleke (Ogun); and Prof. Samuel Egwu.(Kogi).
“Appointments into INEC have grave implications for the credibility, independence and capacity of the Commission to deliver credible, transparent, inclusive and conclusive elections.
“It is for this reason that the Constitution prescribes the criteria and procedure for appointments into INEC to protect the Commission’s neutrality, objectivity and non-partisanship.
” Section 156(1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria clearly prohibits the appointment of any person who is a member of a political party as a member of INEC.
“To further ensure the neutrality of the members of INEC, the Constitution clearly mandates in the Third Schedule, Part 1, Item F, paragraph 14 (1) that Commissioners shall be non-partisan and persons of unquestionable integrity.
“Our investigation and analysis prove that some of the nominees fail the constitutional test of non-partisanship and unquestionable integrity.
“Arogundade said that evidence abounded that some of the nominees were either partisan, politically aligned, or previously indicted for corruption.
“We contend that the appointment of these individuals as RECs will significantly undermine the neutrality and impartiality of the Independent National Electoral Commission, and it will increase mistrust in INEC and Nigeria’s electoral process.
” By the combined effect of Section 156 (1)(a) and Third Schedule, Part 1, Item F, paragraph 14 (1), these individuals are constitutionally prohibited from any appointment as members of INEC.
” It will be against the sacred spirit of the Constitution to accept their nomination,given their antecedent and close affinity with political parties, it is improbable that they will remain neutral and objective if successfully screened as INEC RECs,” he said.
Also, Mr Jake Epelle, Founder of Albino Foundation, said the coalition was constrained to observe that the appointments did not reflect the principles of non-discrimination and inclusivity .
Epelle said it was critical that the coalition strove to make the electoral process more inclusive, representative, and qualitative.
He said the appointment of PWDS would provide the pulse required to give effect to the provisions of the Discrimination Against Persons Living with Disabilities Act, 2018, and other legislations and guiding principles in that regard.
Epelle added that the group called for a thorough examination and background checks of the credentials of the nominees.
He said that the coalition believed that the electoral commissioners should be individuals with impeccable character, unquestionable neutral inclinations, dispositions, and competence.
Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu , Board Member, Yiaga Africa, said that it was critical for the legitimacy and success of the 2023 general election that the appointment of the RECs is concluded expeditiously in a transparent, non-partisan, and professional manner.
Nwagwu said that this was especially because the 2023 election was in 183 days.
He said the undersigned CSOs called for withdrawal of the nomination in the public interest .
“In making nominations into INEC should be guided by the judgment of the Federal High Court on affirmative action wherein the court directed that all appointments must comply with the 35 per cent affirmative action for women.
” In the same vein, the President should ensure the representation of Persons with disability (PWDs) and young people in the appointments.
“The Senate should accelerate the process of screening nominees without compromising due diligence and comprehensive scrutiny of nominations forwarded by the President,” he said.
2023: NSCDC to train INEC officials on security during election 2023: NSCDC to train INEC officials on security during election Election By Muftau Ogunyemi Akure, Aug. 18, 2023 The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ondo State Command, says it will train election officials on necessary security measures to take during elections.
Dr Hammed Abodunrin, the NSCDC Commandant, said when he paid a courtesy visit on the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ondo state, Dr Rufus Akeju, on Thursday in Akure.
Abodunrin said it was the responsibility of the corps and other security agencies to ensure security during elections He, however, said other stakeholders including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must also work in tune with the security agencies.
The commandant said it was important for all stakeholders to ensure safe, free, fair and secure election where people would not be afraid to come out to vote.
“If INEC staff are not secured or feel threatened, they won’t be able to conduct a proper election, not necessarily that they want to get anything, but because they have to also secure their lives.
“This is the only way we can partner with INEC through the training of their staff on personal security.
“Because if there is a competition, somebody is bound to win and somebody will also lose while somebody could be aggrieved, because they don’t know how to play the game according to the rules.
“So, instead of INEC officers to become victims in the course of their duty, we can always upscale their skills in the way they can protect themselves.
“INEC officials’ personal security is very important to us and we are going to train them on how to get appropriate information and how to also secure themselves either at work or at home,,” he said.
Abodunrin added that the command would also sensitise the officials on how to do away with objects that could trigger issues during elections.
“Virtually all the objects we are using in our homes and offices have now become symbols of political parties, such as brooms and umbrellas.
“If we see electoral officers using a broom to sweep the polling booth or carry an umbrella during the rain, people could mistake it for a kind of campaign for a particular political party.
“From our experience, we have seen where people react to such things during an election.
“Meanwhile, all the objects have an alternative; a sweeping stick could be use instead of a broom and a rain coat could replace an umbrella,” he said.
Abodunrin commended INEC on the recent elections in Ekiti and Osun states, saying the two elections portend a lot of hope for the country.
The NSCDC commandant called on politicians to play the game according to the rules and shun any action that would jeopardise the 2023 general election.
“Our security operatives have to be observant and not only to say they are objective, but they must be seen to be objective.
Electorates should calm down and believe that their votes will count,” he said.
Responding, the REC appreciated the NSCDC for their demonstration of love and commitment to the consolidation and deepening of democracy in Nigeria.
Akeju assured the readiness of INEC to conduct free, fair, credible, generally acceptable and inclusive election in line with international best practices.
He appealed to the NSCDC to complement the commission’s efforts towards building a democratic culture in the country.
“Your visit today is timely as you are aware that the commission is preparing for the 2023 general election; the training will be for the betterment of officers and the commission at large,” Akeju said.