The Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, again reechoed his earlier stance, that voters were not banned from monitoring the elections, after casting their votes, but that it must be done from a distance.
This was after he had initially took a stance that they should go home after casting their votes, but was countered by some party chieftains who felt otherwise.
The police boss explained, that they can monitor their votes from a about 300metres, but not at the polling booth, otherwise they would be committing an offence of loitering.
Abba reemphasized his point at two separate events on Tuesday – while addressing Squadron Commanders of Police Mobile Force, Counter-Terrorism commanders and other senior officers at the Force headquarters, and at a National Stakeholders’ Summit on the general elections organised by INEC, both in Abuja.
Abba explained that security during the election was important, hence the need to avoid anything capable of jeopardising the arrangements that had been put in place.
According to him, Section 129 (I) of the Electoral Act forbade voters from staying or loitering at the polling unit after casting their votes or if prevented from casting their ballots.
He said, “I didn’t ban voters from staying after voting, I advised based on Section 129(I) of the Electoral Act, which states that voters should not loiter after voting to prevent commission of crimes. And if they must stay, they should be at least 300 metres from the polling unit for security reasons; this is in consonance with the Electoral Act.
“Cast your votes and go and cool down. If you remain there, there is likelihood that you will commit an offence.
“Asking voters to wait and protect their votes implies taking the law into their own hands. It is unacceptable,” he reportedly stated.
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