- Â Labour party raises the alarm over security for Lagos LG polls
Segun James and Chiemelie Ezeobi
Ahead of tomorrowâ€™s local government elections, the Lagos State Police Command yesterday warned all stakeholders, party agents, public officer holders and the electorate not to breach security during the polls else, they would face six months jail term.
The state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, made this disclosure at the meeting with all stakeholders at the POWA hall, Oduduwa, Ikeja, said the warning was for all parties either at national or state level.
He also warned public office holders and VIPs to desist from taking their security aides to the polling centres during the election, threatening to arrest any erring security personnel.
During the four-hour interactive session, he also charged members of staff of the state Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) to resist any temptation from politicians that could mitigate a hitch-free elections.
While addressing LASIEC ad hoc and non-adhoc staff, party chairmen, members of transport unions, among other stakeholders, he said anyone caught would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Owoseni said his first step towards achieving a violence-free election was that LASIECâ€™s officials would be profiled with a view to ensuring prompt arrest of any of them who would allow himself to be used against achieving the desired result.
Addressing VIPs, Owoseni said: â€œVIPs may be members of the National Assembly, ministers, commissioners or members of the House of Assembly.
â€œPolitical office holders who are entitled to the use of aides will not be allowed to move around on Saturday with them.
â€œIf they need to vote, they must be there as individuals to exercise their franchise and go back home.
â€œAny policeman found with them will be arrested. It is not just for this election. We have always advised police officers that are performing such duties not to go about with their weapons to intimidate electorate under the guise that they are aides to any VIP.
â€œAny policeman who violates this, we will make sure that the provisions of the law are brought to bear on him.
He admonished LASIECâ€™s officials to study the electoral law with a view to understanding their roles during the elections, informing that ignorance was no excuse in law.
Meanwhile, the state Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), Pastor Bioudun Popoola, has raised the alarm on the possible breakdown of law and order during tomorrowâ€™s local government election; and has therefore urged LASIEC to prepare adequate security for the day.
Addressing journalists at the premises of LASIEC thursday, he cried out that he was molested by some hoodlums believed to be political thugs; a situation which he said was unbecoming for the countryâ€™s nascent democracy.
He said there was security presence around when he was molested at the gate of the LASIEC office by hoodlums he believed belong to a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP in the state, noting that this gave the hoodlums a free day to carry out their nefarious activities.
The LP chairman called on the state government to beef up security for tomorrowâ€™s election, to ensure safety of lives and property.
He explained that his party, though in alliance with PDP, is not interested in the internal wrangling of the party.
He said the essence of the alliance is to provide good representation for the people of the state whom he stressed deserve the best.
â€œAs we go into this election, we should be mindful of our actions and inactions. The people must matter and we must ensure that lives and property are secured during and after the election.
â€œI am urging the security agencies to curb the criminality associated with election. I do not want to mention name, another chairman from another party had to run for his dear life when we were molested at the LASIEC premises on Thursday.
â€œThe success of the council polls depends on the security arrangement put in place. Government should deploy its state apparatus to ensure that LASIEC discharge its duty effectively and without bias,â€ he said.