Governorship poll: Foundation inaugurates security support centre for Edo, Ondo

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A non-governmental Organisation, Cleen Foundation, has inaugurated election security support centre for Edo and Ondo State governorship elections slated for Sept. 19 and Oct. 10.

Mr Benson Olugbuo, the Executive Director of the foundation made this known in a statement in Abuja.

Olugbuo said that the support centre was inaugurated as a measure to assist and ensure a successful, peaceful and hitch-free election, especially during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

He said that in the face of the pandemic, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other stakeholders should deliberate on ways to conduct the elections.

According to him, this is following public health and safety measures stipulated by the government and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Consequently, the INEC has developed a guideline for conducting elections during the pandemic involving various stakeholders.

“This we believe is with a view to eliciting wide stakeholders’ support and input and ensuring it adequately addresses emerging concerns from stakeholders.

“It is against this background that we are putting up measures to ensure a successful, hitch-free and peaceful election in Edo and Ondo states through the following activities,” he said.

He said that the foundation would conduct security threat assessments in both states to support key stakeholders especially the INEC and security officials with empirical data for the deployment of manpower and other resources for the elections.

Olugbuo also disclosed that the foundation would recruit, train and deploy volunteers across all the local government areas in both states to observe, document and report in real time, security incidents and threats to the upcoming elections.

“We will collate, analyses and disseminate the findings to relevant stakeholders before, during and after the elections.

“We would deploy our Tella Human Rights Monitoring Application for mapping of security risk factors across the states through real time observation, documentation and analysis of accredited observers’ reports on the conduct of security officials during the elections.

“The Tella Application will be scripted with key questions from the Electoral Violence Mitigation and Advocacy Tool (EVMAT) developed by the Electoral Institute of the INEC, and our foundation with support from the UK Department for International Development,” he said.

He noted that the EVMAT was developed by electoral stakeholders as part of its efforts to have a standardised tool for assessing election related security threats by stakeholders.

He however noted that it was important that security officials on election duty in both Edo and Ondo State maintain peace and order and protect the rights of voters to exercise their right to vote.

Olugbuo recommended that INEC shiuld partner with the NCDC and other public health agencies to review the Covid-19 regulations related to the conduct of elections during the pandemic.

He also advised INEC to ensure that Civil Society Organisations and independent agencies that are interested in observing the elections and political party primaries are duly accredited.

“There should be specialised training for security personnel to be deployed for election duty during the covid-19 pandemic to ensure optimal performance.

“Political parties should ensure that their primaries are free, fair and inclusive and the media should be given free hand to perform their duties as well as protected from overzealous security agents and thugs.

NAN

– June 12, 2020 @ 10:31 GMT /

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