…threatens to arrest armed personnel who escort VIPs to polling centres
By Evelyn Usman
The Police in Lagos has warned public office holders; be they at the national or state level , to desist from taking their security aides close to the polling centres during Saturday’s Local Government election in Lagos, threatening to arrest any erring security personnel.
He also charged members of staff of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC to resist any temptation from politicians that could mitigate a hitch free election, saying anyone caught would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Commissioner of Police , Lagos state Police command, Fatai Owoseni , handed down the warning during a meeting with LASIEC adhoc and non adhoc staff , party chairmen, members of transport unions among other stakeholders.
The meeting according to Owoseni , was part of preparation towards ensuring that Saturday’s election was devoid of violence.
As first step towards ensuring this, he disclosed that LASIEC’s officials would be profiled , with a view to ensuring prompt arrest of any of them who would allow himself to be used against achieving the desired result.
Addressing those he referred to as VIPs to exercise their franchise and leave the polling centers, Owoseni said : ” VIPs may be members of the National Assembly, Ministers, Commissioners or members of the House of Assembly. Political office holders who are entitled to the use of aides will not be allowed to move around on Saturday with them . If they need to vote, they must be there as individuals to exercise their franchise and go back home.
“Any policeman found with them will be arrested . It is not just for this election. We have always advised police officers that are performing such duties not to go about with their weapons to intimidate electorates under the guise that they are aides to any VIP. Any policeman who violates this,we will make sure that the provisions of the law are brought to bear on him.
” We are making it clear that any policeman or security agent that violates this rule, will be sanctioned accordingly.”
He admonished LASIEC’s officials to study the electoral law with a view to understanding their roles during the elections, informing that ignorance was no excuse in law.
He said ” If you have not familiarize yourselves with the electoral law , don’t claim ignorance if arrested. If you violate the law, you will be made to face its full wrath, no matter who sent you.
“We are taking an inventory of all of you, in terms of getting your details, passport photographs and telephone numbers . You will also be captured and your finger prints taken.This is to ensure there won’t be any hiding place for you. If you violate the electoral law, we will haunt you, look for you and ensure the full wrath of the law catches up with you”
Assuring that the command and other security agencies were prepared for the electio, Owoseni charged candidates to warn their loyalists against shedding of blood come Saturday. He disclosed that candidates of all political parties would sign an undertaking towards this effect , today, at the command headquarters and area commands respectively.
Warns policemen against electoral malpractices
Earlier, while addressing policemen and other security agents at a training programme held at POWA hall, Owoseni warned that on no condition should they allow themselves to be used to sabotage the process.
He said “ We all know the code of conduct that guides the way we discharge our responsibilities, if we don’t know, we will not be in uniforms. We should also go out there to make the whole exercise hitch-free so that at the end of the day, observers will be able to appreciate the role we played”.
.Present at the one day training were personnel of the Nigerian Army, Navy , Air Force , the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Federal Road Safety Commission among others.