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INEC hosts continental election management bodies in Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) will on Monday host about 150 participants from across the African continent to a three- day International Conference of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) in Africa and Southern Africa Development Community.

The Conference, the first of its kind, scheduled to hold between Monday 9 and Wednesday 11, April, 2018, will have in attendance the President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean Claude Kassi Brou and Ambassadors of some of the participating countries.

The Chairman, Local Organising Committee, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, said that all the National Commissioners of INEC, Resident Electoral Commissioners, (RECs) and Directors of the Commission are to participate at the three- day Conference with the theme, “Opportunities and Challenges in the Use of Technology in Elections.”

He also added that registered political parties and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are to send one representative each to the Conference.

Dr. Ogunmola disclosed that the President of European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) Ms. Monica Frassoni, is expected to attend the pre- event Press Conference which would hold simultaneously with registration of delegates today.

Equally scheduled to attend the Press Conference to be addressed by INEC Chairman, who is also President of ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu is the President of Electoral Commissions Forum (ECF) of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Chairperson of Electoral Commission (EC) Namibia, Adv. Notemba Tjipueja.

Dr. Ogunmola assured delegates of adequate security throughout their stay in Nigeria courtesy of a collaboration between INEC and the European Union Support for Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN).

He disclosed that INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has met with Inspector- General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris and Director –General, Department of State Security (DSS), Lawal Musa Daura to firm up security arrangements for the Conference.

According to the National Commissioner, more than fifty security personnel were earlier scheduled to be deployed for the Conference, but ‘ín order not to appear as if we are militarizing the venue of the Conference, the number has been reduced to 40 security personnel.’’

The Security personnel, he said comprise of the Police, DSS and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) who have been detailed to escort delegates on arrival from airport to their hotel rooms and be with them till the end of the Conference.

Dr. Ogunmola explained that the Committee has already created Protocol Desk at the Airport to make their trip stress-free, while discussions had been held with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to grant Visas to participants who would require entry Visa to come to Nigeria.

The LOC Chairman further said that adequate provision has been made for Tour Guides to take delegates round the City of Abuja for Sight- seeing and shopping adding, ‘‘there will be adequate security for them from landing to departure.’’

He said that the LOC in conjunction with European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) has finalized arrangement to ensure hitch-free Conference by putting in place Secretariat for the Conference, Medical facilities to cater for medical needs of participants and other logistics plans.

Other activities to make the Conference memorable for participants include Walk-in Dinner holding at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja venue of the Conference on Sunday, April 8, General Tour of Abuja City during the period and Departure Dinner on Wednesday April 11.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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