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LG Poll: Lagos Police Command Warns Politicians Against Use of Aides During Voting

PHOTO CAPTION: Lagos state commissioner of Police (CP) Mr. Fatai Owoseni

Tajudeen Balogun, Head, African Examiner, Nigeria Bureau

LAGOS, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Lagos State Police Command has warned political party chieftains participating in the Saturday, July 22, 2017 State’s Local Government Elections against the use of aides while going to their polling units to cast their votes.

State’s Commissioner of Police (CP) Mr. Fatai Owoseni gave the warning Thursday in Ikeja, the State capital, at a ”closer” interactive session between the representatives of the political parties and heads of the State’s Service Chiefs.

The Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) is conducting elections this Saturday to elect new Chairmen and Councillors into the 20 Local Council (LGs) and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).  

While handed down the stern warning, Mr. Owoseni stressed that no politician would be allowed by the security operatives to use aides while going out to cast their votes, as well as allowed to move around under the guise of monitoring elections, noting that polls supervision were the task of both electoral body’s permanent and ad hoc staff and the law enforcement officers.

Instead of moving around, Owoseni urged the politicians to return to their respective homes immediately after exercising their civic rights and come back later for the vote counting and announcement of results at their polling units.

The Lagos CP reiterated that the politicians were not covered by any law to monitor elections as they progress in different parts of the State.

Mr. Owoseni declared that any politician who defied the Police order, thus use armed suspected political thugs at the polling units or surrounding, to disrupt the process, the Police would use the legitimate means to dispossess the miscreants of the arms and subsequently be made to face the full wrath of the law.

While responding to question on the best way to check electoral misconducts such as ballot stuffing and multiple thump printing, the CP urged the political agents who are legally allowed to be stationed at the polling units, to take proper stocks of such antics via all possible means, without taking laws into their hands.

Owoseni noted that beside the arrest of the suspects by the security operatives, the party agents and stalwarts should rely on judiciary which would later among others, call for forensic assessment of the alleged misconducts and subsequently determine the fate of the accused.  

He lamented that election which ought to be like a game of football, where in the spirit of f airplay, the loser and winner hug themselves after the decisive match, has been taken to an extreme level in Nigeria, resulting to violence which unfortunately leads to loss of lives and property.

Earlier, CP Owoseni in another interactive session urged LASIEC’s ad hoc staff, including the Supervisory Polling Officers (SPO) and Collation Officers (CO) to familiarize themselves with the necessary Elecoral Acts guiding the conduct of the polls.

Most importantly, Mr. Owoseni cautioned the ad hoc staff to be ”apolitical”- jettison their personal political preferences immediately they commence the tasks they were engaged for, until they finally deliver.

He stated that in as much as the Police was not privy to the details of the contract between them and LASIEC, the ad hoc staff must in their interest; their future and that of their families and ultimately in the spirit of the ongoing ”Change Begins With Me” campaign in the country, should perform their assigned duties as men and women of integrity.   

Speaking further on the Electoral Act, the Lagos CP directed the ad hoc staff to study section 63 of the Act, which he disclosed provides details on the Breach in Conduct of duty.

Mr. Owoseni announced that the Act provides six months imprisonment, fine or both against any electoral official accused of sabotaging the electoral process.

He warned all the temporary electoral staff to conduct themselves, insisting that election officer who failed to abide by the rules of the game would be made to face justice. He also warned that any ad hoc staff who could not comply with the laws, should opt out before the exercise begins, as the claim on ignorance of the law would not be condoned.

While responding to journalists after the session, Mr. Owoseni condemned the killing of a tanker driver by a police officer on Wednesday in Apapa area of the State.

While confirming that the officer who was stabbed by mob was currently receiving treatment in hospital and being put under close watch, Mr. Owoseni declared that such Police officer did not belong to the Force, hence apologized to the public over the illegality perpetrated in the name of the security outfit    

Among the political parties with representatives at the session were the Accord Party; the ruling APC, APGA KOWA and PDM.

Meanwhile, all the parties’s Chairmanship candidates have been invited to the Oduduwa annex of the State’s Police Command, while the Councillor ship candidates have also been directed to report at their respective Commands at 10.00am Friday to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

 

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