The United States has expressed worries over the neutrality of security agencies in Nigeria ahead of the forthcoming general elections.
Mr. David Young, a representative of the American Embassy in Nigeria, at a meeting on Wednesday with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said; “One of the concerns is about the neutrality of the security services. For us, it is very important that the security services provide for the election security, the safety of the process of the election in a way that doesn’t interfere with people getting to the polls, civil society monitors, election observers who have access to observe the process freely.”
He further assured INEC of the US support, adding that he hoped the new Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, will cooperate and give necessary support to INEC as well.
“We support INEC and the work they are doing. We look forward to providing more support,” he said.
Also, Ketil Karlsen, the European Union ambassador to Nigeria, said the EU was meeting with the electoral body to get updates on the preparations ahead of the general election.
“Our only real mission here is for Nigeria to succeed in having fee, fair transparent and credible elections,” he said.
“We want to be briefed by you on the preparation for the election. We already have long term observers,” he added.
He further noted that the 2015 election in which Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan willingly conceded defeat, sent a powerful message that the outcome of a democratic election can be roundly accepted, saying that the envoys would like to see that again in 2019.
The EU representative noted that it is not in support of any candidate, but whoever emerges winner would become a partner of their countries.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said that their role in supporting INEC is to deliver credible election in the eyes of Nigerians.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of INEC, who responded to the diplomats, said the commission was already putting finishing touches to its preparation for the election which starts on February 16 with the Presidential and National Assembly polls.
“We have concluded and published the guideline, we have finalised the manual for the election to be used for training staff for the election. We are recruiting as hoc staff and will soon start training them. We are aware the election is going to be an intense media event,” he said.
“2019 will be credible, we will zealously guard the process,” he added, promising that INEC will not disappoint the international community and the people of Nigeria.