Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
As the political campaigns officially kickstart across the country today, Wednesday, September 28, the Independent National Electoral Commission,INEC,has banned the use of private security guards, Vigilantes and Masquerades for political campaigns and at rallies.
INEC stated that it is against the new Electoral Act for political parties to employ the services of any other unapproved security outfits other than the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Security Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC and other federal security agencies.
Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner in Charge of Voter Education and Publicity gave the warning today during Port Harcourt based radio Programme on Nigeria Infofm said “The using the employment of private security guards for reasons of providing protection for candidates at rallies are prohibited. It is only the Nigeria Police,Nigeria Security Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC and other federal security agencies are permitted by law to be at play in Political rallies and political processions”.
On the prosecution offenders or political parties or individuals who violate these laws like the use unauthorized places like religious Centres,Police Station and others, Okoye clarified that it is primary responsibility of Nigeria Police Force,NPF, to arrest, investigating Electoral Offenders. INEC carries out the prosecution in conjunction with the Police and office in the Attorney Generals in the various States.
He said INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, has severally canvased before members of the National Assembly and before the Nigerian people that what Nigeria needs now is a Commission that will assume the responsibility for the arrest, investigation and prosecution of Electoral Offenders.
Okoye also stated further that the Chairman Yakubu,had canvassed for the setting up a Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal to take care of the punishment of violators of the provisions of the Electoral Act.
“We’ve to,as a nation break the circle of impunity in Electoral Offences in this country because people believe that they can commit Electoral Offences with impunity and get away with it, Okoye stated.