The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, has re-assured members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) participating in electoral duties of adequate protection.
Jega, who gave the assurance when the NYSC management team led by the Director General, Brigadier- General Johnson Bamidele Olawumi, paid him courtesy visit at the INEC headquarters in Abuja, yesterday, admitted that the involvement of the scheme in the conduct of elections has increased the credibility of the elections.
He said: “It is with great pleasure and delight that I welcome the NYSC team. I want to commend you for what the scheme has been doing to improve electoral process. I want to also commend the scheme for the professionalism they have added in their involvement in electoral duty since 2011.
“We have enjoyed the collaborative efforts with the management of NYSC. It is very sad to remember the unfortunate incident that happened in the 2011 general elections, where some corps members lost their lives in a post election violence. We have done everything possible to ensure that such incident don’t happen again in this country.
“We are very pleased with the initiatives you have taken in establishing the electoral security committee to particularly review the participation of the scheme. It is also good that it factored the Sheik Gumi report on electoral violence and I assure you that the recommendations you have made would be of paramount importance to the conduct of the elections in 2014.
“I would like to assure you that we will do everything possible to ensure that the corps members on electoral duties are provided adequate security and protection. All hands are on deck to ensure provision of conducive environment to protect and provide for the corps members.”
The INEC boss said, though the involvement of the corps members is voluntary, “we should also know that it is part of their national service to this country and we will go extra mile to ensure that we minimize the challenges they face during and after electoral duties and protect and protect them.”
In would be recalled, sadly, that the post violence from the 2011 elections led to death of 10 serving Corp members, in Bapchild state. The unfortunate event, led all for the exemption of Corp members from election duty. Even though, such calls weren’t completely heeded, participation of Corp members during elections, is completely voluntary.
Speaking earlier, the NYSC Director General said the scheme, in collaboration with the military and other security agents, has set up electoral security committee as part of the arrangements to ensure the security of the corps members participating in electoral duties.