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Elections: Remain Neutral – Ex-Assistant IGP Advises Officers

Elections: Remain Neutral – Ex-Assistant IGP Advises Officers

A retired Assistant Inspector General of Police (IGP) in Nigeria, Austin Iwar, has called on divisional police officers and those going to be involved in the 2023 election to remain neutral and impartial as they will be accountable for their actions and inactions.

Iwar, who was speaking in Enugu State at a capacity building workshop for divisional police officers on election security management in Nigeria, organised by CLEEN Foundation held at Bon Platinum Hotel, said, “there are now three major political parties in Nigeria, and among them, the Obedient movement looks like one that won’t die even if Peter Obi wins the election,” Iwar noted.

Speaking on Election Security Management to enhance the capacity of police officers in an election, Iwar expressed regret over how security agencies, especially the police, are disenfranchised during elections because of their jobs. However, based on his initiative of community policing in Nigeria, he advised police DPOs to check the risk assessment plan properly before embarking on operational activities.

According to Iwar, “Risk or threat, assessment must be specific. Don’t disrupt the electoral process while at the poling units, just as you should take statements on social media seriously.”

Earlier in an address, the Executive Director of Cleen Foundation (organisers of the training) Gad Peter, represented by the Programme Manager, Chigozirim Okoro, noted that Nigeria was experiencing a complex security crisis and skirmishes across the country that warrant pre-election security mapping ahead of the 2023 elections. “For instance, strengthening the capacity of police personnel and institutions in specific strategic areas bothering around public order and human rights has become fundamental. Citizens’ perception of the political class using security institutions as a tool of manipulation, repression, and oppression before, during, and after elections has primarily informed the ongoing capacity building of police officers across the six geo-political zones in the country.

“To this end, an honest, professional, and people-centered policing approach is crucial to ensuring that elections are legitimate and credible. It equally gives the people a sense of trust and confidence in the electoral process and the electoral management body. Meanwhile, adequate security remains a critical factor determining the success or otherwise of any electoral process. The police is key to the provision of election security,” Peter said.

The 2023 elections will be the second general elections under the ruling All Progressive Congress in Nigeria and a defining moment for the country’s political landscape.

The objectives, therefore, of the training are of two folds: To enhance the capacity of Divisional Police Officers of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) for improved election security management towards the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria, and to improve their skills for effective crowd control and management within the broader context of public order management during elections.

SOURCE: Voice of Nigeria News

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