By G9ija

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos State on Tuesday met with various security agencies to ensure successful Lagos East Senatorial and Kosofe Constituency II by-elections on Oct. 31.

INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Sam Olumekun, at meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), said that the commission was ready to conduct free, fair and credible elections without lowering the bar.

Olumekun commended security agencies’ contributions to the success of the 2019 General Elections, saying their demonstration of high sense of responsibility and professionalism led to the success of the elections.

“Security is key to the conduct of any election. There is the need for strong collaboration between the immigration and customs department to deal with the problem of alien voters, we cannot pretend that they are not among us.

“The police have the lead role over and above other agencies in the electoral security. The Air Force and the Navy are to assist INEC in accessing difficult terrains for logistics deployment if necessary.

“INEC is to make available the list of harmonised polling units and their locations for operational planning by the police and other security agencies.

” The police should make available in advance manpower posting to polling units for the information of INEC.

“You will have observed that our performance has progressively been getting better and we cannot afford to lower the bar,” the INEC boss

Olumekun, the co-Chairman of ICCES, said that security agencies were to arrange joint training for officers, and there was the need for preemptive raids in hot spots, to discourage tendencies of violence.

He said that the by-election became necessary as a result of the demise of the Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District and the member, representing Kosofe State Constituency II, Lagos State House of Assembly.

Olumekun, who intimated the security agencies with the details of INEC preparations for them to key into by setting up a robust security architecture, said that INEC was prepared for a hitch-free exercise.

“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As amended) and the Electoral Act provide the process of election for the circumstance of a general election and when vacancies occur into elective positions.

“Consequently, the Commissioner of Police and gentlemen officers, we are here today because we are faced with another important assignment of conducting by-election into Lagos East Senatorial District and Kosofe II State Constituency.

“The commission is committed to conducting a free and fair election in accordance with our vision and mission, hence we plead for your total support to fight such malpractice as violence, vote buying, ballot snatching and the likes,” he said.

The INEC boss said that the commission had issued regulations and guidelines for the conduct of elections under the COVID-19 pandemic period which should be strictly observed by all.

According to him, the Revised Rode of Conduct and Rule of Engagement for security personnel must be followed while other officials will swear to the relevant oaths of office.

In his remarks, CP Hakeen Odumosu of Lagos State, who doubles as the co-Chairman of ICCES, assured that the security agencies would do everything possible to secure both electoral officers and materials.

Odumosu, who promised massive deployment by security agencies, said that all regulations, guidelines and rules of engagement for security officers for elections would be followed to the letter.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting, held at Police Command Headquarters in Lagos, had representatives of various security outfits including the Police, the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in attendance.

Others at the meeting were representatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Department of State Security (DSS), the Nigerian Correctional Service, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).