Remain Neutral In Elections – Austin Iwar, Former Assistant IGP Advises Officers

By Tony Adibe

A retired Assistant Inspector General of Police (IGP) in Nigeria, Austin Iwar, has advised divisional police officers and those going to be involved in the 2023 elections to remain neutral and impartial as they will be accountable for their actions and inactions.

AIG Iwar, spoke at a capacity building workshop for Divisional Police Officers on election security management in Nigeria, held at Bon Platinum Hotel, Enugu.

NewsBits reports that the key objectives, of the training are: To enhance the capacity of Divisional Police Officers of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) for improved election security management towards the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria, and to improve their skills for effective crowd control and management within the broader context of public order management during elections.

Iwar said: “there are now three major political parties in Nigeria, and among them, the Obidient movement looks like one that won’t die even if Peter Obi wins the election.”

Speaking specifically on Election Security Management to enhance the capacity of police officers in an election, Iwar said he regretted how security agencies, especially the police, are disenfranchised during elections because of their jobs.

However, based on his initiative of community policing in Nigeria, he advised police DPOs to check the risk assessment plan properly before embarking on operational activities. Iwar further said: “Risk or threat, assessment must be specific. Don’t disrupt the electoral process while at the poling units, just as you should take statements on social media seriously.”

Earlier in an address, the Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation (organisers of the training) Gad Peter, represented by the Programme Manager, Chigozirim Okoro, said that Nigeria was experiencing a complex security crisis and skirmishes across the country that warranted pre-election security mapping ahead of the 2023 elections.

Peter said: “For instance, strengthening the capacity of police personnel and institutions in specific strategic areas bothering around public order and human rights has become fundamental. Citizens’ perception of the political class using security institutions as a tool of manipulation, repression, and oppression before, during, and after elections has primarily informed the ongoing capacity building of police officers across the six geo-political zones in the country.

“To this end, an honest, professional, and people-centered policing approach is crucial to ensuring that elections are legitimate and credible. It equally gives the people a sense of trust and confidence in the electoral process and the electoral management body. Meanwhile, adequate security remains a critical factor determining the success or otherwise of any electoral process. The police is key to the provision of election security,”

NewsBits reports that the 2023 elections will be the second general elections to be conducted under the ruling All Progressives Congress in Nigeria and a defining moment for the country’s political development.

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