The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, says 49 persons have been arrested for alleged involvement in election violence and thuggery in the just concluded elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.
Mr Adamu said this on Wednesday at the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting held at the INEC headquarters, Abuja.
The IGP, who was represented by the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Bashir Makama, said for the Bayelsa election, 35 persons who were arrested for election violence are being investigated.
This implies that the remaining 14 were arrested in Kogi.
He also, said despite the infractions, challenges and the use of thuggery observed in the election, ”it could still be said to be relatively peaceful but there is still room for improvement.
”As regards Bayelsa elections, the deployed officers deployed to the oil-rich state is 31,041 that were assigned for the assignment, after which they were incidents of violence in the state,
”Some persons that were arrested for election violations are 35 in number and they are being investigated in the zonal police headquarters in Benin city,” he said.
Mr Makama said the police were “only able to arrest eight persons accused of election violations” in Kogi.
He added that six others were arrested in relation to the death of the women leader that was burnt alive in her home in Kogi State.
”As again the woman leader that was burnt down, six suspected were arrested separately in view of that particular matter again investigated are yet to be concluded.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the police paraded six persons in connection to the killing of Salome Abuh, the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) women leader on November 18.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Monguno, the National Security Adviser, urged that for future elections particularly the bye-elections that would come up in 2020, ”all the various security agencies, political parties must come together to ensure that those elections are conducted hitch-free of violence, in order to make a positive impact in all future elections.”
Mr Monguno, who was represented by Sanusi Galadima, noted that if the violence in future elections is not curtailed it could cause more low voter turnout in elections.
”Our fears are if nothing has been done to curtail all these kinds of violence, voters would not come out to cast their votes.”
In his remarks, the INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu said any arrest of offenders “must be followed by a thorough investigation to ensure that thugs and their sponsors are penalised under the law”.
The INEC chairman, also said while the Commission has no power under the law to cancel elections, “it will not hesitate to suspend elections anywhere its officials report the disruption of the process or threats to the lives of voters, election officials and observers by acts of thuggery or community connivance.”
Mr Yakubu also disclosed that ahead of the Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections, it appraised the security situation in the two states using its Election Violence Mitigation and Advocacy Tool (EVMAT), which identified some flashpoints.
The assessment, he stated, was shared with the security agencies.
“We also had several stakeholders’ meetings in Yenagoa and Lokoja involving the security agencies. At these meetings, stakeholders across the board expressed concern about the possibility of violence.
”The security agencies made their own assessment based on which they arrived at the numbers of personnel to be deployed as well as other operational details in order to secure the process.
“At this meeting, we shall review the efficacy of security deployment in relation to field experience on election day, in order to determine what we got right and what we did not.”