Towards the forth coming Gubernatorial elections in EDO and Ondo State the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Manhood Yakubu; National Security Adviser, NSA, Major-General Babagana Munguno, and the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, have signed a set of rule or code of conduct for all security personnel to be engaged in the exercise.
The signed document also cover the conduct of members of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security,( ICCES), and their personnel on electoral duties.
It would be recalled that Professor Yakubu had warned that if anyone disrupts the electoral process in Edo and Ondo states, “where the commission cannot vouch for the integrity of the process, we will not go ahead to make any declaration.”
In the code of conduct document the INEC boss signed jointly with the NSA and IGP, all venues used in the electoral process will be thorough combed for any type of explosive devices, and there will be provision made for how to react in case of an explosion.
The code of conduct document
It read in part: “Except for personnel deployed on covert operations, all personnel on electoral assignment will ensure a neat turnout in their prescribed uniform and name tags, which must be identifiable to the public.
“ICCES may from time to time approve a common means of identification for all security agencies on election duty.
“Personnel on covert operations will ensure they turn out in clean outfits, having strict regard for the authorised identification card. Officers engaged in traffic control will ensure that white gloves and armbands are worn.
“No unauthorised item of accoutrement/kits like a cudgel, horsewhip, etc. shall be carried by any personnel on election duty. At no time will personnel deployed to Polling Units be allowed to carry firearms.
“Prescribed and appropriate weapons and riot equipment are to be issued to personnel, who are entitled to bear them. Clearly marked vehicles are to be used for every election exercise and/or operation. The use of personal vehicles to convey personnel for duty is highly discouraged.
“Pocket notebooks shall be carried, where important incidents encountered during tours of duty can be noted, in view of the fact that all security personnel can be personally summoned to account for their actions/inactions while on election duty,” the document stated.
Also, the code of conduct stipulates that, “At venues of all electoral activities, designated officers will identify areas to be classified inner and outer rings respectively to serve as a guide in deployment.
“On no account should personnel deployed to the inner ring of the venue of political events or voting centres/polling units be assigned any lethal weapon except baton. Involvement of the officers at political gatherings shall be limited to the maintenance of peace and order and enforcement of extant laws.
“Officers shall at all times exercise maximum restraint while covering political gatherings or deployed at voting/collation centres. Officers shall not at any time turn themselves into spectators but shall at all times be conscious of happenings around them, observe precautionary measures and personal safety while on duty.
“Security personnel shall use tact and persuasion to resolve issues, when dealing with or confronted by agitated persons in the crowd. Refer cases to senior officers or supervising officers to avoid escalation where there is tension.
With the signing of this document it would be easier to identify all the security personals in the exercise slated for September 19 for EDO and October 10 for Ondo.