Ahead of next month’s general elections. the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has approved 88 observer groups, including 16 international bodies, to monitor the polls, starting with presidential and National Assembly elections on February 14, while the governorship and House of Assembly polls hold on February 28.
In a statement on Thursday, INEC said the approval of the 88 observer groups was sequel to their compliance with the requirements and guidelines issued by the Commission for accreditation of observers.
The international bodies accredited for the 2015 elections consist of diplomatic missions of nine countries in Nigeria, including those of United States, Switzerland, Britain, Germany, France, Japan, Republic of Ireland, Australia, and Canada.
Other non-state international bodies accredited for the elections are International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES); International Republican Institute (IRI); National Democratic Institute for International Affairs; UN Women; European Union Delegation to Nigeria; ECOWAS Mission; and African Students Association of Ireland.
Prominent among the 72 accredited domestic observer groups are Transition Monitoring Group, TMG; New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD; Nigeria Bar Association, NBA; Police Service Commission; Centre for Democracy and Development; National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS; National Association of Women Journalist, NAWOJ etc.
The accredited groups are to obtain and complete form EPMC 02 for the elections from the Elections and Party Monitoring Department, INEC Headquarters, Abuja, between 8am and 4pm from Monday to Friday, starting from January 15 to 26, said the statement.
The Commission requested the accredited observer groups compile the photographs of their members with the names and submit hard and soft copies to the commission before January 26, “in order to ensure prompt processing of ID cards.”
“Please note that distribution of observer kits (including ID cards for individual observers) will be done by the EPM Desk officers at INEC state offices between February 10 and 13, 2015,’” the statement added.
Meanwhile, the Commission has emphasised that observer groups other than those listed found in the state for the elections shall be handed over to law enforcement agencies for prosecution. Also, accredited field observers found in the states other than where they are approved to go will equally be sanctioned, the Commission warned.
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