By Solomon Odeniyi
With few days to the general elections, a group “Vote not fight Campaign” has called on the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu to ensure that men of the Nigeria police are trained to be civil so as to allow voters to exercise their constitutional rights without any form of intimidation or restriction during the election.
They also called on the police to work closely with the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure a rapid response to distress calls by voters, election officials and election observers.
The state coordinator of the group, Ademola Adebisi made the call at a peaceful walk to the Osun state Commissioner of Police office in Osogbo on Tuesday for onward transmission to the IGP.
Ademola maintained that if the Nigeria Police Force, responsible for safeguarding lives and properties as well as protecting the ballot in elections, lived up to its billings in securing INEC Adhoc staff , Voters, candidates , Observers and other stakeholders there would be peaceful participation before, during and after the election.
Condemning the use of youths by desperate politicians to perpetrate violence, he said, “Nigeria’s youth constitute more than 60 percent of the country’s population and also represent 51.1 percent of voters in the coming general election. However, they have been regrettably marginalised and underrepresented in decision making.
“Over the years, the sponsors of electoral violence have used youths to perpetrate violence and disrupt the electoral process. During election violence, voters are killed before during and after elections for simply exercising constitutional rights”.
Receiving members of the group at his office the state commissioner of police, Olafimihan Adeoye said the police interest remains to see the electoral process such that it is credible, transparent and meet the world best practices.
He said,” the IGP has directed us to provide what would be required to ensure smooth conduct of the election. What you have demonstrated through your campaign is not different from this.
“We know our role, I am reassuring you that everything needed would be done to discharge our duty in accordance with the law. We are not partisan, in the state we have been providing security to the parties and candidates”.
The police boss assured that the peaceful atmosphere in the state would continue even after the elections, warning that whoever is caught trying to disrupt the peace would be made to face the full wrath of the law no matter highly placed such person is.