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Elections: We won’t shoot ballot box snatchers, IGP declares

No genuine PVC, no voting -INEC
.Confusion over APC’s fate in Rivers, as INEC accommodates Zamfara
By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA – The Nigeria Police Force has said it would not shoot political thugs who snatch ballot boxes on election day, but would instead apprehend them and ensure that they are prosecuted in line with the relevant sections of the Electoral Act.

IGP Abubakar Adamu

Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu stated this Friday in Abuja during a briefing with some stakeholders in the electoral space, organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC in Abuja.

“Maximum security is provided before, during and after the election. There will be at least three unarmed security personnel at the polling units while our patrol teams are armed to deal with those who may want to disrupt the process.

“In the course of voting, if any electoral offence is committed, we will work with the INEC officials to apprehend the culprit and we will set up an investigative team led by our Commissioner of Police in charge of Legal to investigate such cases and prosecute them. Be it vote buying, ballot box snatching, thuggery, if you commit any of them, you will be arrested and prosecuted. In every country, there are laws guiding that country and every law abiding person in that country is expected to obey them. If you break the law, there should be consequences and the same thing applies here in Nigeria. So, do not engage in ballot box snatching. If you do that, there will be consequences”, he declared.

No genuine PVC, no voting -INEC

“A voter will only be allowed to vote if his or her name is on the Register of Voters and after verification of the PVC and authentication of his or her biometrics by the smart card reader. No genuine PVC, no voting’, Prof. Yakubu declared.

INEC on Zamfara, Rivers APC

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The commission insisted that it would not accommodate the candidates of the All Progressives Congress APC in Rivers state because of a Supreme Court order asking it to exclude the parties.

The INEC boss claimed ignorance of any Supreme Court order asking it to obey the judgement of the appellate court to include APC candidates in Rivers on the ballot.

“I am not aware that there is any live order in the case of Rivers that INEC has not obeyed. By yesterday, I was aware there was a Court of Appeal judgement but everybody knows what the judgement is. I don’t know there is any live order that INEC has not obeyed in the case of Rivers”, said Prof. Yakubu.

However, in its February 11 decision, the Supreme Court in a case between Sen. Magnus Abe and the APC ruled that both parties returned to the Appeal Court for continuation of hearing in the substantive suit.

The panel of five justices led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour declared thus; “It is hereby ordered that parties return to the Court of Appeal for the hearing of the substantive appeal which is still pending for a hearing on the merits”.

Director of Strategic Communications for the APC Governorship Campaign in Rivers, Tonye Princewill expressed displeasure at the position of the INEC boss.

Princewill said; “I think it is clear that the INEC Chairman is confused about the facts in Rivers state. I heard the series of questions he answered on the matter today and also at previous press conferences. We are waiting to see the Supreme Court judgement that he says is final. The point was made today. What is the difference between Rivers and now Zamfara? Very little, if any. Both states have appeal court judgements that stand down the orders of a lower court. In the case of Rivers State, he (Yakubu) keeps making reference to a final Supreme Court judgement, but has never for once told us what it is. Perhaps he doesn’t realize the differences between a ruling and a judgement. He thinks the Rivers state matter is finished whereas it is not. The Supreme Court sent us back to the Appeal Court to hear the substantive case on the matter. Meanwhile the same Supreme Court threw out an appeal to the stay of execution Rivers APC were granted. So, there are two live orders which the Chairman is not obeying. I can only assume that, in the confusion of postponements, he has not yet been briefed by his legal team. To deny millions of people their right to choose must have consequences”.

INEC stands on S-Court ruling on Rivers

Meanwhile, INEC said in the case of the All Progressives Congress APC in Zamfara State, the Federal High Court Abuja and the Zamfara State High Court issued conflicting orders relating to the participation of the APC in the two strands of elections scheduled for 23rd February and 9th March 20l9.

While the former ruled that the APC, having failed to conduct party primaries cannot field candidates in the said election, the latter decided that it can field candidates having conducted valid party primaries.

“However, the Court of Appeal Abuja Judicial Division on 21st February 2019 set aside the judgement of the Federal High Court Abuja for ‘lack or want of jurisdiction on the part on the lower court.’ This in effect means that the Zamfara State High Court‘s decision that the APC can field candidates for the National Assembly, Governorship and State Assembly elections is the only valid and subsisting order.

“Consequently, the Commission has today, in compliance with the said order, restored the APC to the ballot in the National Assembly, Governorship and State House of Assembly elections scheduled for 23rd February and 9th March 2019”, INEC declared.

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