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CSOs warn INEC against staggered elections

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International and local electoral observers arrive to attend briefing by the chairman of the Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) about preparations for the rescheduled general elections in Abuja, on February 20, 2019. Nigeria’s presidential and parliamentary election has been rescheduled for February 23, 2019, following the postponement of the orinial poll on February 16. PHOTO: Pius Utomi EKPEI / AFP

Say Military Will Be Held Accountable For Obeying Unlawful Order
The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has reminded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that any attempt to stagger elections in any region of the country will be decisive and explosive and would only serve to undermine the credibility of the elections.

Situation Room also noted that military and other security personnel who carry out unlawful orders would under international law, be held accountable, under Section 29(3) of the Electoral Act, adding that the Nigeria military are specifically excluded from direct involvement in elections.

“Regulation 341 of the Police Act (LFN 2004) confers personal liability on any police officer who employs excessive force in the exercise of his powers as a police officer.

“Similarly, article 5 of the United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials 1979 does not recognise superior order as a defence for the use of excessive force by law enforcement officials.”

Speaking yesterday in Abuja at a press briefing, Head of the Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo, noted that the INEC must conduct all elections across the country simultaneously and in a very organised manner devoid of logistics challenges that have characterised elections in the past.

According to Nwankwo the Situation Room is concerned about reports it has received that election materials are being delivered to wrong locations.

He said the Situation Room is also concerned about the invitations issued for the interrogation of INEC officials, even if those invitations were later withdrawn.

Nwankwo also expressed concern about statements emanating from various political parties that aim to undermine the credibility of INEC and infringe on its constitutionally guaranteed independence.

“Situation Room is deeply worried about the spike in politically motivated killings in the period leading up to the elections. According to various reports from members of the Situation Room across the country, over 260 Nigerians have been killed since commencement of campaigns from October 2018 to date.”

He called on the INEC to ensure all personnel involved in election duties are well catered for, including security officers, ad-hoc staff and National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members.

Nwankwo further called on all stakeholders to give their utmost in ensuring that today’s polls go smoothly and peacefully, adding that the sanctity of the nation’s electoral process must be preserved.


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