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Poll: Police arrest 323 persons over electoral offences, sundry crimes

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…Lost 2 officers, others injured

By Joseph Erunke

ABUJA- THE Police have said a total of 323 persons have so far been arrested for engaging in electoral offences and other sundry crimes across the country following the Presidential and National Assembly elections held eight days ago.

This picture shows a torn carton of Presidential ballot papers which were seized by Nigerian Army on the election day at Nigerian Army’s Bori camp in Port Harcourt, Southern Nigeria, on February 26, 2019. (Photo AFP)

This was as it said two of its officers were killed with some others either injured or assaulted while carrying out their constitutional duties during the election.

Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, speaking Monday, at the post-presidential and National Assembly elections evaluation meeting with strategic police managers, at the Force Headqarters, Abuja, said he had directed the Special Electoral Offences Team of the Force to undertake detailed and conclusive investigations into all the cases with a view to liaising with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in ensuring their prosecution.

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Speaking ahead of the governorship and House of Assembly elections slated for next week, the police chief reassured the nation and the international community of unwavering commitment of the police to work closely with INEC and other sister security agencies towards guaranteeing a peaceful election and secure space for Nigerians to exercise their electoral franchise.

“I must, however, re-emphasise that just as in the recently concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Nigeria Police shall remain civil, firm, optimally professional and apolitical in the discharge of our duties in the 9th March, 2019 elections.

“We shall, nonetheless, deploy all lawful assets and assert our statutory powers to deal decisively, firmly, and promptly with any person or groups that may attempt to disrupt the process,”he warned.

According to IGP’ Adamu,” all political actors who might be preparing to threaten the peaceful conduct of the exercise are hereby firmly warned to play the game of politics by the rules as stipulated in the Electoral Act and to appreciate that national interest overrides their personal ambitions.”

“Doing otherwise shall attract the full and appropriate response from the police and other security agencies,” he added.

While noting that some officers and personnel made sacrifices for the nation’s democracy, Adamu sent his “heartfelt condolences to the families of officers and men who lost their lives during the exercise

“And I also sympathize with those who were injured or assaulted. I assure them that the perpetrators of these acts will be fished out and brought to deserved justice no matter their socio-political status,” he assured.

He explained that the meeting was called to address three major issues.

These, according to him, were to debrief strategic police commanders and undertake a comprehensive evaluation of police performance during the Presidential and National Assembly elections; perfect police plans and allocate operational tasks towards the governorship and State Assembly elections and appreciate personnel of the Force across all ranks for their sacrifice, discipline and exceptional professionalism which was demonstrated during the presidential and National Assembly elections.

“There is no doubt that the high high sense of commitment to national duty, neutrality and courage accounted for the generally peaceful conduct of the exercise as well as the credibility of the entire process as attested to by local and international observers,” he said.

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