Editorial Team

Emmanuel Udom-Managing Editor, Stephen Dijo Philemon-Deputy Editor, Janet Udom-Senior Correspondent, Precious Udom-Senior Correspondent, Williams Ita-Bureau Chief(Akwa Ibom/Cross River), Fabian Idoko-Senior Correspondent

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    Wednesday, 21 September 2016

    Edo guber race: CLEEN Foundation plans to place 23,000 police officers on close marking

    CLEEN foundation, a non-governmental organization is planning to place the about 23,000 police officers deployed to checkmate insecurity and violence during the Edo governorship race on close marking.

    Check revealed that the officers are to motorize men for the rescheduled governorship election in the state planned to hold Saturday, September 24.

    According to Benson Olugbuo, executive director, CLEEN foundation, “the organization will be working closely with relevant stakeholders such as INEC, Security Agencies, Media, Civil Society Organizations, Civil Society Situation Room, and Edo State Civil Society Network”.

    The call centre will be open throughout the day in Benin City and our observers will be on the field across the 18 local government areas of Edo state to get real time information/reports on the conduct of security agencies during the election.

    The non-governmental organization, however, gave reasons why some areas may be prone to danger and violence which may likely mar the September 28 election.

    CLEEN Foundation, while presenting a security brief on the election to the Independent National Election Commission and the police in Benin, the state capital, stated that such local government areas as;  Oredo, Egor, Igueben, Esan- Central, Etsako-West, and Orhiorwon.

    The group classified the six areas as “Risk”, for the election. Others areas with lesser risk are,  Etsako East, Esan West, Esan South, Ovia South-West, Etsako-Central, and Akoko- Edo, while the remaining ones – Esan-North East, Owan-East, Ikpoba- Okha, Ovia North Ease, Owan West, and Uhunmwode – were listed as “minor risk areas”.

    The 14-page report identified the likely cause of violence in such areas as mainly the use of youth to light weapons, inciting speeches by politicians, late deployment of INEC staff and materials, and the possible failure of card readers, as factors that could likely spark off electoral violence, if not contained.

    CLEEN said the risk analysis was done after talking with 783 respondents and experts, in all the 18 local government areas of the states, as well as analysing reports in the media. The

    Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation, Benson Olugbuo, said his organization believes INEC and the police to make use of the report to conduct smooth election in the state.

    “INEC should ensure that election personnel and logistics get to the remote areas on time. This will reduce the waiting period before accreditation and voting can commence, the report suggested.

     INEC should deploy more than one smart card reader in every polling unit so that if one fails the other can serve as back up.

    The Commission should guard against last minute switching of ad-hoc staff which hampers the smooth running of elections.”

    The group in their report advised the police and other security agencies to remain non-partisan during the election.

    “In identified areas with potential for violence or habitual violence, security agencies should act proactively by inviting the electoral violence entrepreneurs in these domains for pre-emptive chats, the report suggested.

     “The security agencies should have intelligence units that monitor the behaviour of security agents deployed for election field work. Such units should be able to make reports real time and also get responses as the election is ongoing.

     Civil society observer teams should not just observe and report, but should have real time mechanism in place for connecting field observations to those who have the capacity to correct polling-unit error or intervening to put volatile situations under control. The use of social media will be helpful in this regard.”

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