No Waiting At Polling Booths After Voting – IG


The Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba

nigerian electionThe Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, on Thursday warned voters to go back to their homes after casting their votes on election days.

Abba, who addressed accredited observers for the general elections in Abuja, said the possibility of committing electoral offence was very high if voters stayed back at the polling booths for votes to be counted.

He said that each polling unit would have at least two or three policemen to protect the votes cast by the electorate.

The IG said, ‘‘Two to three police officers will be attached to each polling unit, and we would provide more officers for the collation centres and for the managers of the elections.

“We will go on to protect the electorate. Every eligible voter should feel safe enough to cast his votes. We will be there to protect the votes and make sure no one disrupts the process.

“Cast your votes and go and cool down. If you remain there, there is a likelihood that you will commit an offence.’’

The police chief advised political parties and their candidates to abide by “one agent to a polling unit,” which the electoral act stipulates.

“Asking voters to wait and protect their votes implies taking the law into their own hands. It is unacceptable,” he said.

Abba said the police were aware of threats by some politicians to declare parallel election results and warned that his men would deal with such act within the ambit of the law.

He added, “We have heard some people are threatening to declare election results; we hope it is not true. If you don’t accept the declared result by INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission), the best way is to proceed to the tribunal.

In advanced democracies, people don’t take the law into their own hands but resort to tribunals.

“The refusal to accept the result and resort to extrajudicial activities is a threat to the electoral process. But where they don’t heed the appeal, the police will act within the law to protect the electoral process.”

The IG said that the police would be loyal to the country, the constitution and all democratic activities before, during and after the elections in which 56,000 Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps officials and 129,000 non-regular personnel would be part of the security arrangements.

While disclosing that the police have “arrested thousands of thugs” and “recovered hundreds of firearms” he condemned the recruitment of miscreants by politicians to achieve their goals.

Abba noted that lateness in commencement of voting, delay in the provision of electoral materials, rigging and manipulation of results were serious threats to electoral process.

He advised INEC to fasten the process of accreditation of voters on election days.

The IG also said in a statement on Thursday that he had ordered tight security around all key and vulnerable points, including the headquarters and offices of INEC and media houses.

Also to witness improved security are Internally Displaced Persons camps, service provider installations, banks, hospitals, National Youth Service Corps lodges, hotels and government offices.

The measure, according to him, is to ward off possible attempt by hoodlums to attack such places .

Abba urged the public to remain steadfast in collaborating with policemen to stamp out crimes, “as the police have perfected strategies to prepare a safe and secure ground to guarantee hitch-free March 28 and April 11, 2015 elections.”

Efforts to speak with the APC spokesman, Lai Mohammed, did not yield result as calls to his telephone rang out.

He also did not respond to a text message sent to him.

Meanwhile, Abba has called for improved synergy between the police and para-military agencies under the Ministry of Interior for enhanced security during and after the polls.

The IG made the call when he visited the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, to strategise on better ways of guaranteeing security during the elections.

He commended the efforts of security agencies in assisting the police in protecting lives and property, saying a lot has been done to ensure that security officers deployed for the polls adhered to best practices.

The minister also expressed satisfaction with the synergy between the paramilitary agencies and the police.

He noted that the rivalry that had earlier existed between the men of the NPF and other security agencies had been curbed.

“I am pleased to note that the networking between the police and the para-military services during your tenure is commendable,” Moro said.

The minister announced that 56,000 NSCDC personnel and 129,000 non-regular personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, would be mobilised for the elections.

He also appealed to the IG to beef up security in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State where Fulani herdsmen killed over 80 people last Sunday.


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