Mr. Clement Nwankwo

A coalition of civil society organizations, under the aegis of the Situation Room, on Friday asked security agents on election duty to be guided by the Electoral law.

He also asked them to try to be as civil as possible in performing their duties on Saturday.

Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre and Convener of the Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo, said the organisation was deeply concerned by reports of invitations issued for the interrogation of officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission by security agencies in the last few days.

According to him, such directive, even if later withdrawn, amounted to undue pressure.

He also expressed worry over what it described as the spike in politically motivated killings in the lead up to the elections.

Nwankwo put the figure of persons killed within the period of political campaigns in the country to about 260.

Nwankwo said, “Situation Room would like to warn 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, the Nigerian 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 for law enforcement officials 1979 does not recognise superior order as a defence for the use of excessive force by law enforcement officials.”

He said the Situation Room had received assurances from INEC chairman that the welfare of the police and adhoc staff.

Speaking on the state of preparations by INEC, Nwankwo said that the Situation Room can confirm that as at Friday INEC has been able to deploy sensitive election materials up to the local government council level throughout the country.

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