Ahead of the 2019 general elections, The Muslim Congress (TMC) has called on the Federal Government to put measures in place to re-engineer the security apparatus of the country towards ensuring adequate protection of lives, property and conduct free, fair and credible elections.
The Chairman of the TMC Committee on Social Mobility, the Economy & Politics, Dr Luqman AbdurRaheem, made the call while presenting the 11th quarterly series of “State of The Nation Address” of the committee on Saturday in Lagos.
“When the general election approaches in Nigeria, there is always heightened tension in the politics and economy of the country with palpable fear for the security of lives and properties.
“This is due to the contestation for power amongst political parties, economic groups, ethnic nationalities and religious organisations.
“Each contending party tries to manipulate circumstances in its favour without any consideration for morality, justice or the national interest.
“The government has the onerous responsibility of managing these circumstances in such a way that the country does not descend into anarchy,” the committee chair, who doubles as the Amir (President) of TMC read.
The committee, however, commended the federal government for been proactive by putting 30,000 policemen on duty in Ekiti to forestall rigging and violence.
“It is also gratifying that the INEC has reiterated its commitment to the principles of free, fair and credible elections.
“The security agencies, politicians and the youth must conduct themselves honourably.
“Electioneering should not be a do-or-die affair if indeed the purpose is to render service to the people.
“Elections should not widen the ethnic and religious cleavages that already exist among the people.
“Nigerians should seek to recreate the kind of atmosphere that enabled the ideals of the 1993 elections when the people sought unity in diversity.”
The committee also raised concern over calls from some section of the country for the creation of “State Police”, saying the recourse to “State Police that is being touted needs to be done with caution”.
“Granted that the numerous killings in the country have exposed the underbelly of our security architecture, the recourse to State Police that is being touted needs to be done with caution.
“For all the merits that the State Police may have, it is going to be bedevilled with the challenge of funding since a large number of states are already unable to pay the salaries of civil servants within their care.
“It will be a danger and a security threat to the people to have a Police Force that is owed salaries for years. It will result in a lawless and undisciplined police who will exact their pound of flesh from the ordinary citizens.
“A case in point is the recent protest by policemen in Borno State over unpaid allowances that have accumulated over a period of six months.
“If such a situation can occur under the Federal Government, what would then happen when their care and welfare are transferred to the states?
“It will, therefore, be better and more sensible for the Police to continue to be under the Federal system till such a time that the states have grown and become capable of footing the bills,” AbdurRaheem said.