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Election: Liberia security agents not partisan unlike in Nigeria – YIAGA Africa

YIAGA Africa Executive Director, Samson Itodo, says Liberian security agents are non-partisan in the country’s recent election unlike in Nigeria, where security forces have been…

YIAGA Africa Executive Director, Samson Itodo, says Liberian security agents are non-partisan in the country’s recent election unlike in Nigeria, where security forces have been accused of interfering in elections.

Itodo said that the Liberian National Police and the army were able to maintain order and security throughout the electoral process, despite concerns about their professionalism and integrity.

“As a nationalist, I believe that nations and states should be responsible for their security because why does the state exist? A state exists in the first place to provide security and deal with welfare and social condition of people, so I think that states should be responsible for protecting themselves,” Itodo said in an interview with Channels TV on Wednesday.

He stated, “In Nigeria, it is not guaranteed that you are going to have a credible or non-partisan management of elections security operations.

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“What is critical is the fact that Liberian people came to a point to say ‘we can do this on our own because in 2018 the UN left Liberia.’

“But then there were also issues around the professionalism as well as the integrity of the security agencies to manage the election because they thought that the Liberian national police and the army were going to be clearly partisan in managing the security but to a large extent we didn’t see that.

“You know the army and the police are answerable to the president who is commander in chief and the president was on the ballot.

“This is the experience that we have about security agencies acting in a very partial manner when it comes to elections and their loyalty isn’t to the constitution but to an individual and where the individual is a candidate in a party, the tendency is to protect the political interest of that particular incumbent when they are on the ballot or even the ruling party and not necessarily the entire state.

“But in the case of Liberia even though people had their concerns, we didn’t have cases where security agencies acted in a partial manner like we see especially in places in Nigeria, there are some cases where we have seen security agencies hijacking and interfering with the electoral process. Even though that has drastically reduced, you still see elements of that within our electoral process but we didn’t see that in Liberia.”

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