By Henry Umoru
AN Observer group, Centre for Transparency Advocacy, CTA has taken a swipe at the Police and the Judiciary following theirs alleged over their roles during the weekend rerun elections.
According to CTA, it was disappointed with reported cases of police intimidation amidst violence in some states and procurement of court orders apparently to frustrate the electoral process.
The CTA, in its review of the process, expressed concern that no lesson has been learnt particularly by the police which has since been upbraided for shoddy conduct in the last November governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had conducted Court ordered rerun elections in 28 constituencies in 11 States of the Federation.
In a statement yesterday by CTA Executive Director, Faith Nwadishi, President Muhammadu Buhari should walk his talk on the marching order he gave to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the Nigerian police to work towards peaceful and credible elections in Nigeria.
The CTA reiterated that President Buhari should walk his talk by cautioning the Nigerian police to be neutral and protect the integrity of the electoral process.
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The statement read, “The January 25, 2020 re-run elections across 28 Federal and State constituencies may have come and gone but some fallouts from those elections are not palatable indeed. There were reported cases of police intimidation amidst violence in some states and procurement of court orders ostensibly to frustrate the electoral process.
“Centre for Transparency Advocacy with dismay noted that Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Imo states presented the worst scenario in electoral infractions during the January 25, 2020 re-run elections. For instance, in Akwa Ibom State, armed thugs invaded Ukana West, Ward 11, units 5, 8, 9 and Ikpe Annang Ward 5 unit 12 in Essien Udim LGA were electoral materials were carted away and INEC staff abducted. The same thing happened in Abi LGA at Afafanyi/Igonigoni Ward were a Supervisory Presiding Officer was abducted with electoral materials in commando-style through the Itigidi river thereby disrupting elections in 8 units of the ward.
“In all these, the Police looked the other way while hoodlums and desperate politicians had their way to the detriment of our democracy.
“It is also sad to note that in Imo State, a Federal High Court granted an order stopping INEC from carrying out its legitimate and constitutional duties. Unfortunately, the Nigerian police made itself available to be used to thwart INEC from its duties. The Imo State Commissioner of police personally led his men to enforce the court order that had May 27, 2019, as the date the case was instituted. We also want to be seeing the Police Commissioner personally leading the enforcement of all other court orders within Imo State. The rancorous scenario created by the police action on January 28, 2020, created fear in the INEC state headquarters and INEC officers feared for their lives.
“Before now, in the same Imo State, the Chief of Staff to the Governor in the company of some people and their security details invaded the coalition centre for the Orlu/Orsu/Oru East Federal constituency re-run election and intimidated the Returning Officer who did not yield to their demand. It is worrisome that in all these, the Nigerian police are either active accomplices or did nothing to protect the integrity of the electoral process.
“CTA had called on President Muhammadu Buhari to walk his talk on the marching order he gave to INEC and the Nigerian police to work towards peaceful and credible elections in Nigeria. CTA calls again on Mr President to walk his talk by cautioning the Nigerian police to be neutral and protect the integrity of the electoral process.”