The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has concluded all necessary arrangements to ensure that National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members enjoy more security during the forthcoming elections in the country, the electoral body’s director, Public Affairs, Mr. Lorwuese Umenger, has said.
In an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP, Umenger disclosed that the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on security of elections had been rejigged to ensure better organized and more effective security at elections this time around.
“We are going to extend the same security to Youth Corps members, even more security to them than our permanent staff. Fear should not be entertained because the commission has taken measures to ensure the security of our both adhoc and permanent personnel and even our materials.
“The Inter-agency Consultative Committee on security of elections, which has been in place by the commission, has done a critical appraisal of what happened in April, 2011 and has identified challenges, particularly challenges that were faced by the security agencies as well as the commission and measures have been taken to ensure that we do have a repeat of 2011 post-election violence,” he said.
Mr. Umenger dismissed the report that NYSC will not release Corps members to INEC during the Edo State gubernatorial election, saying that the leadership of NYSC had not communicated such to the commission. He also said that that NYSC will not make such statement, as the commission had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the past leadership of NYSC for the use of corps members in the conduct of elections.
He also pointed out that the involvement of corps members is instrumental in ensuring the conduct of a free, fair and credible election, as they cannot afford to compromise in order not to jeopardise their future.
He said, “These are young patriotic graduates who have proved that they are indeed patriots. In fact during the April elections, they really made us proud because it was not easy for anybody to buy youth corps members. In fact, we’ve not heard any cases or instances where any corps members have compromised.
“Many of them who paid the supreme price paid it because they refused to compromise. But, in the past, we were making use of all manner of people on the street; people of no specific address; people who we couldn’t trace. Youth corps members have never failed us. I want to believe that NYSC will make them available for us during Edo State Governorship poll.”