By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The police on Monday said a total of 323 persons were arrested in states across the federation in connection with various electoral infractions committed during the February 23 presidential and National Assembly Elections.
Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who disclosed this at a meeting with strategic police managers of the 2019 general election in Abuja, assured that all those found culpable after investigation would be prosecuted in line with the law.
Meanwhile, Adamu, while commiserating with the families and relations of officers and men who lost their lives during the election, noted that the deceased paid the supreme sacrifice for the nation’s democracy.
“It is noted that updated statistics resulting from Presidential and National Assembly elections, shows that a total of three hundred and twenty -three (323) offenders have so far been arrested for various electoral offences and sundry crimes across the country. Two officers also paid the supreme sacrifice, while some others were assaulted and injured.
“In appreciating the sacrifice made towards the advancement of the democratic journey of our country, I wish to send my heartfelt condolences to the families of officers and men who lost their lives during the exercise and I also sympathize with those who were injured or assaulted. I assure them that the perpetrators of these acts will be fished out and brought to deserved justice no matter their socio-political status.
“For those arrested for various electoral infractions, I have directed the Special Electoral Offences Team of the Force to undertake detailed and conclusive investigations into all the cases with a view to liaising with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in ensuring their prosecution”, he said.
The Acting IG said the purpose of the meeting was to undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the Force performance during the Presidential and National Assembly elections as well as perfect plans and allocate operational tasks towards the Governorship and State Assembly elections scheduled for 9th March, 2019.
He accordingly reassured the nation and the international community of the unwavering commitment of the Police to work closely with INEC and sister security agencies towards guaranteeing a peaceful and secure space for Nigerians to exercise their electoral franchise.
“I must, however, re-emphasize that just as in the recently concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Nigeria Police shall remain civil, firm, optimally professional and apolitical in the discharge of our duties on the 9thMarch, 2019 elections.
“We shall, nonetheless, deploy all lawful assets and assert our statutory powers to deal decisively, firmly, and promptly with any person or groups that may attempt to disrupt the process.
“Therefore, all political actors who might be preparing to threaten the peaceful conduct of the exercise are hereby firmly warned to play the game of politics by the rules as stipulated in the Electoral Act and to appreciate that national interest overrides their personal ambitions. Doing otherwise shall attract the full and appropriate response from the Police and other security agencies”, he added.