Police Advise Voters In Lagos, Kano, Others On How To Avoid Intimidation, Harassment

Police Advise Voters In Lagos, Kano, Others On How To Avoid Intimidation, Harassment

The Nigerian Police Force has addressed fears about possible voter intimidation and harassment during the Gubernatorial elections to be held in 28 states tomorrow, and offered advice to the electorate.

The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi while featuring on Channels Television, Sunrise Daily programme on Friday monitored by THE WHISTLER said voters should not be swayed by the emotional blackmail of party agents or individuals threatening their choice of candidate.

While reacting to questions from the anchors, the Police spokesperson said the electoral exercise is largely a secret ballot system where the choices made by voters are unknown until revealed by the voter.

“Is anybody showing their ballot paper? Anybody can make their noise. If I go to a polling unit and somebody said don’t come and vote, am I going to show you who I am voting for? It is a secret ballot, I go and thumbprint and go.

“There is no way out of this, when you get to the polling unit, people will make uncomplimentary statements, they could even abuse and attack you.

“How many of these do you want to listen to? All you have to do is to go to the poling unit and thumbprint your papers; you dont need to be saying I want to vote for this person or that person. Even those issuing the threat will not know who you are voting for,” he said.

He said Nigerians should be well assured that the police have deployed the appropriate security apparatus and personnel across the states where elections would be held to maintain law and order during the exercise.

He also enlightened the populace that where there is a breach of law in certain polling units, it behoves the presiding officer to call the attention of any security agent present to enforce orderliness.

“If there is an infraction, the presiding officer is to call on the operative there to manage the situation and where the operative cannot handle it, then the presiding officers should call for reinforcement.

“I think Nigerians need to understand that when you are at the polling unit, the presiding officer has a lot of powers, so you can’t be too forward. Whoever you pick without the consent of the presiding officer, people will read meanings into that,” he explained.

He, however, asked that Nigerians use police contact lines made available to the public to report any form of intimidation and manhandling at their various voting centres.

There have been viral videos of some political actors threatening residents in their state to either side with their choice of candidate or bear the consequences at the polling units.

In Lagos, thugs have been reported to have attacked a Labour Party state assembly campaign team in Surulere, Lagos.

Recall that civil society groups on Thursday urged security agencies to deploy adequate reinforcement ahead of the gubernatorial elections following the growing tension in some states like Lagos, Kano, Rivers, Gombe and others.


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