By Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
The Nigeria Police have cautioned accredited election observers on the limit of their duties in the forthcoming elections, noting that they are only expected to observe and not to interfere with the process.
Speaking in Jos, Plateau State, at a briefing of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accredited observers, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Isaac Akinmoyede, said: “It is the duty of the police to protect and secure electoral officials, materials and voters during election. Although the police is the lead security agency on issues of internal security, other security and law enforcement agencies have been called in to assist in the conduct of election because of the man power demand.
“The police shall deploy her personnel early for them to get acclimatised with their new environment and terrain for effective performance.”
On the role of observers, the police commissioner said: “Observers are to observe only, and not to advise or interview voters, INEC officials or the security personnel on the day of election.”
While calling on all citizens to cooperate with the police during the election, Akinmoyede assured Nigerians that there will be a seamless and symbiotic relationship between the police and INEC on the day of election.
On the issue of hate speech, he appealed to politicians and their followers to guard against inflammatory utterances, adding that: “The police do not need instruction from INEC official to arrest offenders who commit crime in his presence.”
He warned that underaged voters should steer clear of the polling centres on voting days, appealing to parents/guardians to educate their children and wards.