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Nigeria 2011 elections: Police Boss warns against election rigging

The Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Mr. Parry Osayande, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG Rtd.),  has warned against election manipulauion, rigging and electoral violence saying they are treasonable offences.

He stated this while playing host to members of a coalition of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)who paid him a courtesy call recently.

The delegation, consisting of members of the Nigerian Bar Association, Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) and the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) had come to partner with the commission on credible and violence-free polls.

According to him, electoral manipulation whether violent or otherwise subverts the will of the people and should be punished under the laws.

He assured of the commission’s preparedness to ensure that the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) was not used as a tool in the rigging of elections by self serving politicians.

The chairman of the commission stated that with the passage of the new Electoral Act by the National Assembly, that every agency and organisation that has a part to play towards the realisation of a successful election in year 2011 has a clear mandate and clearly defined roles.

He maintained that the Police Service Commission, in exercising its oversight functions over the police would ensure that their conduct during elections would meet international best practices.

Osayande appealed to the Coalition of Civil Society Groups, the media and all citizens of Nigeria to participate massively in their various capacities in the campaign against electoral violence in the forthcoming general elections and beyond.

He described election monitoring as a daunting task, particularly, due to the challenging terrain of most parts of the country and called on the groups to acquaint themselves with The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Political Wards Delineation so as to deploy their personnel effectively.

Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Comrade Mashood Erubami, the coalition agreed to work together to monitor the year 2011 general elections having recognised that past efforts at individual Groups Monitoring did not make for effective and desired output.

According to him, the visit was informed by the coalitions’ desire for credible, free and fair elections in 2011, devoid of violence, as well as the desire to express their satisfaction at the way the commission was discharging its oversight functions with respect to the NPF.

He commended the leadership of the PSC for the critical role it had played in stemming the tide of election manipulations in Nigeria, noting that the successes of the February 6, 2010 gubernatorial election in Anambra State and the local government election in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were as a result of the commission’s proactive efforts in policing the police.

They called for a closer working relationship with the commission and solicited for the establishment of a code of conduct which would guide police operations during the electioneering campaigns to ensure that the lives and property of citizens and electoral materials would be safe-guarded during the elections.