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Police yet to get it right on election security – Momoh

Nigeria Police and other security agencies have not been able to provide effective security during elections due to ineffective deployment of personnel, Director General (DG),…

Nigeria Police and other security agencies have not been able to provide effective security during elections due to ineffective deployment of personnel, Director General (DG), the Electoral Institute, Professor Abubakar Momoh said in an interview with Daily Trust yesterday.
He said: “I think the fundamental problem is not about whether the accurate number of police is deployed, it is about whether the police actually act professionally and effectively.”
“If you look at the case of Rivers State, you see that Rivers State was over securitized, it was militarized by police, army and all of it, but why was there no security, why were people killed, Nigerians should ask that question,” he added.
He said the reason was because the police was not effective, at the critical places they ought to be, they were not there, in the rural areas and in the creeks where they ought to be, they were not there.
Momoh said had the police been where they ought to be, “many Electoral Officers and Adhoc staff making distress calls would not have been kidnapped.”
Daily Trust gathered that policemen deployed on election duty by the order of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) are often mobilized from the Force Headquarters with allowances paid from Abuja.
However, according to a police source, the allowances differs according to the ranks of the personnel, other ranks are paid an average of N10 thousand for the five days period of election duty.
Meals for policemen and accommodation for out of state personnel is said to be arranged by the Commissioner of Police at the state where the elections is taking place.
The police had said it deployed 25,000 personnel for the rescheduled Edo governorship poll.
Police did not give the exact total number of its personnel, but Daily Trust computed the total according to zones and it shows that there are 280,341 officers and men.
The entire zone 5 command of the police comprising, Bayelsa, Edo and Delta has combined police staff strength of about 22,221 officers and men.
The zonal headquarters in Benin is the administrative base for the other states. Edo has police strength of 10,276 officers and men.
Prof. Momoh said there is also the issue of synergy with other security agencies, explaining that the chain of command is slightly different and other security agencies must take and anchor their operations based on whoever is commanding the operations during elections.
“Because electoral security roles are different from standard security operations and procedure, and we train them, in Edo for example, we have done electoral security training,” he stated.
He added that: “I was there as the Director General of the Electoral Institute, we did electoral security training for all the security arms, they were all there, Police, Army, Immigration and all of them.”
Momoh stated that: “We are trying to encourage them to know that there has to be synergy, we cascaded the training to zonal levels, but how is this internalized and made operational.”
He argued that the setback has nothing to do with lack of funds: “It is not funding because INEC gives them enough support, and the office of the National Security Adviser also gives them support.”
However, he noted that the issue is if actually the funds get to the key people who are on the field; “money is being deployed, money is being released, money is being given, and the issue is that does it get to the right people.”
Momoh said: “This are fundamental issues and they undermine the election, in INEC we give joint training,  police is the arrow head, election is not about arms or exclusiveness, we must abide by international best practices, so that they too can be more civil.”

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