The CLEEN Foundation (formerly known as Centre for Law Enforcement Education in Nigeria) was established in 1998 as a leading non-governmental organization (NGO) to promote public safety, security, justice, research, and advocacy in Nigeria today launches its Election Security Support Centre for the 2019 General Elections.
In the build-up to the 2019 General Elections, CLEEN conducted three security threat assessments regionally and across the 36 states of the federation in April, December 2018 and January 2019 respectively. The objective of the surveys were to map electoral risk factors, identify actors and actions that could cause violence and make recommendations to the relevant actors to mitigate identified threats. Vote buying and hate speech were among the leading electoral risk factors likely to course electoral violence in these surveys.
For the 2019 general elections, CLEEN Foundation also trained law enforcement officers of the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps on Electoral Security Management. The series of training was conducted across the six geo-political zones while trained officers also conducted step-down training for officers in their divisions who were not part in the training.
To ensure adequate coverage of the elections and real-time security situation analysis around the elections, CLEEN Foundation through its Election Security Support Centre will be observing the conduct of security agents deployed on election duty for the February 16 and March 2 Elections respectively. The Centre will be located at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel-Maitama, Abuja and will be operational from today Friday 15th to 17th February 2019.
CLEEN will provide exact and up to date analysis of happenings from the polls in the Pre-Election, Election Day and Post Election. Our analysis will be centered on security situation of the elections and the conduct of Police Officers. The Centre will deploy different technologies that will enable it broadcast live incidents from election field as they happen.
The Centre will also be composed of technical experts in politics, policing, elections management, gender, communication including data analysis. Information from our observers will be fact-checked before releasing same to the public while doubtful information that cannot be verified will be discarded. This is part of our support to counter fake news and misinformation that can trigger election violence which we are working to avert.
For the 2019 general elections, CLEEN has also trained and deployed 1,620 election observers to monitor the conduct of security agents during the elections across the 774 Local Governments in the 36 states of the federation and in Abuja. Our observers are trained to observe and report the conduct of security personnel with a particular focus on the police. They will observe police conduct from movement of elections materials to voting centres, arrival at polling areas, accreditation and voting processes and announcement of poll results.
To achieve our mandate on election security management, we have collaborated with key stakeholders such as the Police Service Commission (PSC), Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, the Yaradua Foundation-Case 2019, the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, accredited domestic and foreign observers, INEC, international development partners amongst other key stakeholders.
We have launched the hash-tag #2019ElectionSecurity for updates from our centre, and we encourage members of the public to follow our updates using this Hashtag.
We want to use this medium to remind the security agencies particularly the Police that they have a responsibility to ensure that the general elections are conducted in a peaceful atmosphere without any voter being disenfranchised as a result of their conduct or of insecurity. The rating of the police will to a large extent, be determined on how best they handle the 2019 General Elections to ensure an atmosphere devoid of rancor of any sort.
Finally, we are hopeful that the 2019 General Elections will be the best and the most peaceful ever conducted in our history.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Benson Olugbuo Ph.D.
Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation