The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre has urged Independent National Electoral Commission to explore possibilities of installing Closed-Circuit Television Cameras in polling units and collation centres during the forthcoming election.
CISLAC Security and Defence Manager, Salaudeen Hashim, made the call at the launch of preliminary report on the involvement of security agencies in electoral process titled “Guardian or Threat to Democracy?” in Abuja on Wednesday.
Hashim said the action would help monitor activities of electoral officers and stakeholders during the election.
He said: “Installing CCTV Cameras in polling units will help monitor activities of electoral officers, security personnel, politicians, party agents and the electorate during the election.”
He said the CCTV recordings must be jointly monitored by the police, the electoral commission and other stakeholders across the country.
Hashim while presenting the report, said instances of pre-election tension do not always translate to crisis on election days.
He said: “For this reason, the use of paramilitary organisations and security services, beyond the police, in electoral process is unnecessary.”
Hashim said the research conducted by CISLAC brought to the fore, activities of security agents during elections and made some recommendations to avoid partisanship.
He said: “In principle, the responsibility of providing security and safety should be a daily priority that must be given due attention during elections.
“The solution is that the involvement of the Armed Forces and paramilitary agencies beyond the police, in electoral process should be stopped without further delay.
“To achieve this, the capacity of the police force to adequately meet its constitutional responsibilities of maintaining public safety and public order should be upgraded without delay.
“To minimise partisanship among security personnel, different security agencies should be made to work separately, individual security services should be assigned to handle different segments of the electoral process.”
CISLAC Executive Director, Auwal Rafsanjani, called on security agents to ensure adequate protection for citizens before, during and after the general election.
Rafsanjani said: “We cannot conceal the fact that election insecurity thrives more in the abusive deployment of security personnel to intimidate perceived oppositions or voters without striking the cord of neutrality.
“ The conduct of security agencies in discharging their functions, as well as ability to display such impartiality, is critical to the outcome of any election.”
Vaclav Prusa, Anti-Corruption Programme Manager, Transparency International, said the essence of the report is to unveil preliminary findings from research of past involvement of security actors in elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the event was organised by CISLAC in collaboration with Transparency International Defence and Security Programme.