THE Nigeria Police Force (NPF) arrested a total of 781 persons for various forms of electoral offences across the country during the general elections.
The Inspector General of Police Usman Baba disclosed this during a meeting with Commissioners of Police from the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Assistant Inspectors General of Police in charge of Zonal Commands, on Monday, March 27.
The Police boss noted that 203 persons were arrested during the presidential and National Assembly elections while 578 others were apprehended during the governorship and state assembly polls.
According to Baba, about 66 firearms of various descriptions were also recovered from political thugs during the period.
Baba said: “A summary indicates that a total of 185 major electoral offences were reported during the Presidential and National Assembly Elections, with 203 arrests made and 18 firearms recovered. Similarly, a total of 304 electoral offences were recorded during the Gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly polls, with a total number of 578 arrest and 48 firearms.”
He further stressed that the Police would collaborate with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that all electoral offenders are prosecuted.
“I have directed that all electoral offences case files across all State Commands be submitted to my office, where a committee has been established to centrally collate and coordinate the processing , preparatory to the commencement of prosecution process.
“While this process is being perfected, you are directed to draw on your discretionary powers in granting administrative bail to the suspects to avoid human rights infractions that could result from lengthy custody of the offenders pending the pressing of charges against them. In so doing, however, you must be mindful of the nature of their crimes and ensure thar they are by law and practice, fall within the categories that are ordinarily bailable at police level,” he added.
The IGP admonished all political actors and their supporters to submit to democratic norms, peaceful means and legal procedures in advancing their interests, warning that the Police and other security agencies would not tolerate the resort to incitement or any act designed to threaten the country’s security.