NBA accuses Nigeria police force of compromising Osun rerun election

NBA accuses Nigeria police force of compromising Osun rerun election

- The Nigerian Bar Association says the Osun rerun poll fell far short of a free and fair election

- The association details instances of how the police allegedly in collusion with thugs selectively prevented voters from accessing polling units

- The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) calls for government institutions who allegedly participated in reported fraud during the Osun rerun election to be investigated

The Nigerian Bar Association has accused the Nigeria police force of compromising the Osun state governorship rerun election which held on September 27.

The legal association in a report by its ad hoc committee on the rerun, said the actions and inaction of the police during the poll showed that it had been compromised.

The report said the rerun fell far short of a free and fair election compared to what transpired in the election of September 22.

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The NBA in the report published on Sunday, September 30, on its website accused the police of failing to question the activities of some political thugs who invaded the Orolu area where part of the supplementary poll took place.

The association in the report also cited other instances of how the police allegedly in collusion with thugs, selectively prevented voters from accessing some polling units.

Detailing what happened in Orolu, the NBA said: “The team deployed to observe the rerun election at Orolu, Ward 8, polling units 1 and 4 and ward 9, polling unit 3, set out for the assignment at about 6:30am. The team’s enthusiasm was dampened by their harassment and subsequent arrest by mobile policemen en-route Orolu.

"They were taken before Ali Janga, Commissioner of Police, at a Police Post. CP Ali Janga is in charge of Kogi State Police Command. Incidentally, the Secretary of the NBA ad-hoc EWG, Liman Salihu Esq. the immediate past chairman of the NBA Lokoja Branch, Kogi State, recognized the CP and showed his Identification Card to him but surprisingly the CP ordered that the team be taken to the INEC Office.

At the INEC office, it took one of our own, Festus Okoye Esq. who is currently the INEC Commissioner representing South-East Geopolitical Zone, to secure their release; he also facilitated the team’s movement to Orolu.

"The road to Orolu is barely motorable and appears to have been recently graded for the purpose of the election. The location of the polling unit at Ifon Orolu Kajola was in a farm house inside a thick bush and there was only one unoccupied residence with a distance of about 80meters from the said polling unit. The materials for the election arrived on time at the respective units and voting proper commenced at the stipulated time of 8:00am.

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"There was heavy security presence with about thirty (30) armed Police officials at Orolu. At about 10:00am, while figuring out how to get to Idiya Polling Unit in Orolu, four (4) Toyota Hiace buses packed with about fifty (50) fierce looking men, drove in and the men alighted and walked towards the polling unit without any PVC in their hands. In spite of the heavy security presence of the Nigerian Police, these men were not stopped nor asked if they were going to vote neither were they asked for their PVCs. This however aroused our suspicion.

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"A member of the NBA Ad-hoc EWG who attempted a recording of the happenings (a few seconds was recorded though) was almost attacked by about six (6) of these men. Surprisingly the Police officials stood aloof and did nothing to stop the invasion by this group of men. The reason given by the security men (Police officials) for their inaction was that they could not act without formal complaints from us.

"Another observation at Orolu was that most of the voters had identification bands on their left arms and ring bands on their thumbs. Those with the said identification bands were allowed access into Orolu while those without the bands were not allowed access and so could not vote. Although these voters without the bands displayed their PVCs to the Police men on ground as evidence that they had been registered to vote at that particular polling unit, the Police personnel adamantly turned them back and as such they could not exercise their right to vote. Voters that were allowed to vote without the bands were those who had arrived earlier before the commencement of voting.

Similarly, one of Nigeria’s most respected election monitoring groups in the country, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), has said the Thursday, September 27, re-run election in Osun state was neither free, fair nor credible.

The group in a statement shortly after the poll also called for government institutions who participated in alleged fraud during the election to be investigated, Premium Times reports.

The CDD insisted that the poll fell short of the global best practices in democratic elections which Nigerians desire.

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