The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on Monday said its operatives arrested 203 electoral offenders during the recently concluded presidential and National Assembly elections across the country.
The information disclosed by the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, while meeting with the Police strategic commanders in Abuja, revealed that at least 18 firearms of various types were recovered from thugs during the exercise.
“In this regard, of the about 185 major incidents that the police responded to across the country during the elections, a total of 203 offenders linked to various electoral offences and sundry crimes have so far been arrested, while not less than 18 firearms of various descriptions were recovered from political thugs during the exercise.
“All the cases are at various stages of investigations at the Nigeria Police Electoral Offences Desks and I assure you that in due course they will be concluded and processed to the Legal Department of the Independent National Electoral Commission for prosecution,” GP Baba said.
The police chief met with senior officers to appraise the performance of officers during the presidential poll; identify the loopholes and conceive action plans for the forthcoming gubernatorial election on March 11 while ensuring stable internal security during and after the election.
The IGP said it was imperative for formation and strategic commanders to prevent the tension generated by the outcome of the just concluded poll, and to ensure it does not snowball into a national security breach.
He added, “This is more so that some unpatriotic elements have been attempting to negatively utilize social media to post fake news, videos and other materials with the sole intent of heating up the polity, fuelling political bitterness, and enflaming the national security space.
“Towards dousing this tension, I take particular cognizance of the initiative of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police who in engaging a consultative approach recently organized an all-inclusive stakeholder meeting where he succeeded in galvanizing the citizens and strategic stakeholders in evolving a common front to advocate for peace and address the postelection security threats and apprehension in the state.
“Drawing on the effectiveness of this strategy in Lagos State, I hereby direct all the CPs across the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT to return to their Commands and replicate the same initiative on or before Thursday, March 9 2023 as part of efforts to guarantee peace ahead of the March 11, 2023 elections.”
He urged parents and guardians to prevail on their children and wards to resist the urge of being recruited as cannon fodders or destabilising agents to disrupt the nation’s electoral process.
“The Nigeria Police under my watch will be unsparing of such elements and their sponsors. As often said, ‘to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
“I also wish to appeal to media practitioners to demonstrate patriotism and always place national security interests over and above other considerations at this stage in our nation’s evolution. This places on them the obligation of resisting the urge to use their platforms to propagate fake news and threaten peace and security in the polity,” IGP said.