Prof. Attahiru Jega – the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission – said on Wednesday that the commission would not allow security operatives to be masked during the 2015 general elections. Jega said this in Abuja during an interactive session with both local and international civil society organisations involved in monitoring elections in the country.
He had on Tuesday, during the public hearing organised by the House of Representatives on the bill for the amendment of the Electoral Act, 2010, backed a proposed amendment that would confer the exclusive power to manage and assign security men during elections on INEC. The bill also sought to limit the role of the military during elections.
Jega told the CSO representatives on Wednesday that the emerging trend of security operatives wearing mask during elections was worrisome. According to him, the wearing of hood by security men during elections is not in tandem with the principle of transparency guiding the conduct of an election.
He said, “In recent times, we have witnessed an increased presence of hooded security operatives during elections. This is an emerging trend which is highly worrisome and which needs to be addressed in good time.
“Security agents who are deployed on election duties should not be masked, the doctrine of transparency requires that they should be identifiable.
“We will not allow such persons during the 2015 elections. Any security personnel deployed for the election must be someone identifiable such that if anything happens we will be able to know who to hold responsible.