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DDC machines: FG issues fresh security directive to FAAN, others

The Federal Government has ordered that all cargoes arriving the nation’s airports must henceforth be taken to cargo sheds within 30 minutes on arrival.

The order followed the theft of 20 Direct Data Capturing machines at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, a few weeks ago. The stolen DDC machines were part of the 132, 200 ordered by the Independent National Electoral Commission for voter registration in January.

A source, who made this known on Monday, said that the Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Dr. Harold Demuren, conveyed the directive to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria; the Nigeria Customs Service at the MMIA; all international flight operators, and ground-handling firms.

He explained that with the directive, a 24-hour operation would now take place at the cargo terminals of the airports.

According to him, election materials will now be treated as high-profile materials like those of the Central Bank of Nigeria that are usually escorted from the airports to their destinations.

The spokesman for NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, who confirmed the issuance of the directive, said that FAAN, Customs, airlines and ground handling firms were expected to comply with the order.

In Abuja, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, told one of our correspondents, that security had been tightened in and around the facilities warehousing the DDC machines delivered so far by the commission’s contractors.

Idowu, who did not give the number of the DDC machines that had been moved to the states nationwide, disclosed that some of them were being stored at INEC’s headquarters in Abuja.

He explained that the lessons learnt from the theft of the DDC machines had given rise for the need for INEC to a review of the prevailing security procedure on its operations.

He said, “There is a clause in the supply contract that commits the contractors to delivering the machines to our storage facilities across the country.

“It is in keeping with this that some of the machines are already being deployed to the states. We have also been given guarantees that additional measures have been put in place not just for the security of the machines but also for the entire electoral process.”

Idowu said there was nothing unusual about the storage of some of the DDC machines meant for use in the Federal Capital Territory at the INEC headquarters.

According to him, “The FCT INEC has storage facilities in the headquarters. There is nothing unusual about us keeping the machines in store for them.”

It was gathered that over 45,000 out of the 132,000 machines had so far arrived the country in preparation for the voter registration scheduled to begin on January 15, 2011.

Meanwhile, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has identified lack of coordination among security agencies as a factor militating against free, fair and credible elections.

Jega, at the inauguration of the Interagency Consultative Committee on Election Security in Abuja said insecurity had been a recurrent challenge to election management bodies in Nigeria over the years.

This, he explained, had spanned several issues, including the security of election officials, protection of election materials, and orderliness at polling as well as collation centres.

Jega noted that INEC, under his leadership, had experienced the insecurity.

He said, “In recent by-elections in some parts of the country, INEC officials were threatened with physical violence in an attempt to dissuade them from carrying out their lawful responsibilities.

“More recently, 20 computers to be used for the registration of votes from the 15th-29th of January 2011 were stolen at the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos.

“It becomes absolutely important for the commission to work closely with security agencies to review past strategies, which apparently have not served us as well as intended.

“We have observed several reasons accounting for this. First, it seems that there was inadequate coordination among security agencies around elections.”

Under the new arrangement, INEC seeks to bridge the gap between the headquarters and men on the field.

INEC intends to also liaise with security agencies to ensure that security arrangements met the requirements of each locality.

Also speaking at the event, the National Security Adviser, Gen. Andrew Azazi, promised that his office would ensure the proper coordination of security agencies to achieve the set objective.

Azazi was represented by the Director of Research, Planning and Statistics in his office, Ambassador Clement Lasayinde.

He said, “This is a defining moment for our nation. It is important that we get it right this time.

“I want to assure the chairman that the NSA will give you all the support you require, in whichever way we can be of assistance.”

The NSA also threatened sanctions against security officials found to have compromised in the discharge of their official functions before, during and after the elections.

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Posted by on Dec 21 2010. Filed under Elections 2011, Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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