The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it would leave no stone unturned to provide safety and conducive environment for members of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) working in the February general elections.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, gave the assurance when he received Brig,-Gen. Johnson Olawumi, the Director-General of NYSC and the management of the scheme at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday.
Jega said although the corps members volunteered to participate in the elections work, “we all have the obligation to ensure that we minimise challenges they face and protect them adequately.
“We also have the obligation to provide for their welfare as they participate in this national service.’’
The INEC boss added that it was a tragedy and bitter experience that some corps members were lost in the 2011 general elections violence in some parts of the country.
“It is something that we all have to work very hard to ensure it never happens again in this country.’’
The chairman urged stakeholders to collaborate with INEC and NYSC to guarantee the security and safety of the NYSC members that would participate in the elections job.
He promised that the Commission would do everything possible to meet the requirements and recommendations made by the scheme’s security committee as forwarded to INEC.
“We will attend to their welfare needs as we do this crucial national assignment,’’ Jega pledged.
Earlier, Olawumi said NYSC had set up a security committee to study previous elections from 2011 as part of preparations for the 2015 elections.
He said “the committee reviewed the report of a committee that was set up after the violence that occurred after the 2011 elections, after that it came up with a wide range of recommendations.
“Those recommendations bordered on the conduct of youth corps members during the elections and more importantly, their safety.’’
He added that the committee comprised of officers of the NYSC and security agencies.
Olawumi said the scheme might not be fully responsible for the misconducts of corps members who volunteered to participate in the 2015 elections.
“The good thing is that none of them is below the age of 18. So I have been telling them that they will be responsible for the consequences of any action they take during the elections,’’ he said.
The NYSC boss urged INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to extend the same level of cooperation it was enjoying at the national level to the states.