By Joseph Edeh
A retired Commissioner of Police, Mr Lawrence Alobi, has faulted the deployment of the military to ensure order and security in the just concluded 2019 General Elections.
Alobi in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja, said the policing and enforcement during elections has serious implications.
“The issue of deploying or using the military in internal security, policing and enforcement and practically during elections has serious implications,“he said.
“Section 217 of the 1999 Constitution as amended provides that the military can be used to assist the police in internal security when the police are overwhelmed,“he said.
Alobi said that the involvement of the military in routine policing would bring back the culture of violence and use of force against Nigerians.
“The police can provide security during elections if the Federal Government is committed to ensure that our democracy is not militarized,“he said.
The former commissioner of police said that the military believed in the use of force while the police believed in persuasion.
He said that the military would not be committed to their statutory function if it continued to participate in internal security.
“The military can only be used for only peripheral security duties during elections like escorting INEC materials, providing security at INEC infrastructure but not going to collation centres like it happened in Rivers during the elections,“he said.
He said the Federal Government must tread with caution in militarising law enforcement and policing.
Alobi said using the military during elections was not good for the country`s democracy and corporate image as the giant of Africa.
He urged President Muhmmadu Buhari to make it as a policy to recruit 20,000 policemen annually and train them adequately to provide security to Nigerians.
“I want to advise the president strongly in this his tenure to recruit 20,000 policemen every year and train them adequately to provide security.
“The number of the policemen is grossly inadequate in line with the UN standard, we will be able to police elections without the use of the military,” he said.
The UN standard is one police officer to 400 citizens of a country.
He commended the Chief of Army Staff for the constitution of a panel to investigate the conduct of their officers during the general elections.
Alobi who said he believed the panel would be thorough, added that it would have been bad if the leadership of the military kept quite over the development.