Nigeria: 2011 - Jega Urges Police to Prevent Ballot-Snatching

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Nigeria: 2011 - Jega Urges Police to Prevent Ballot-Snatching

Post  nex on Sat Jul 31, 2010 8:27 am

Ahead of the 2011 general election, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has appealed to the police high command to ensure there is no snatching of ballot boxes.

Jega said his commission had started the production of the new voters' register, adding that the process is very challenging.

The INEC boss spoke yesterday when he paid a courtesy visit to the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Ogbonna Onovo, at the Force Headquarters, Abuja

He said since all eyes were on him and the IG to ensure free and fair elections in 2011, there was need for the police to partner all INEC staff in the various states of the federation to ensure crime-free elections. He also promised his commission's cooperation with the police.

He said: "This is the first meeting I will be having with the police high command. Incidentally, I am meeting with all the commissioners of police in the 36 states of the federation, including Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command. My main purpose for the visit is to let you know that we are prepared to work with you and we are in turn enjoining you to partner with us, especially the commissioners of police in all the states of the federation.

"As stated earlier by the IG, this thrust of free and fair elections is sacred and we must handle it as such. We must not let down this trust, but must ensure that we live up to the expectation of the Nigerian populace."

"I know some of you must have been close to the resident commissioners in your various states but I want to let you know that they have been changed and you need to start afresh with the new ones. Please do your best in assisting them in ensuring free and fair elections by fighting election crimes to the barest minimum level. Ensure there is no snatching of ballot papers and other criminal activities in your various states. Our commissioners will cooperate with you. Let us redouble our efforts in ensuring that this sacred trust is not abused."

Shedding more light on the new voters' registration, the INEC boss said it would add credibility to the election.

He said: "Although the new voters' registration card is tasking, a very challenging one for that matter, it will surely add credibility to the election. The old voters' cards are definitely not good enough for the forthcoming election. The new ones might not be perfect but will be good enough for the January election. We will do our best to ensure that the best is given to the people. That is why we are calling on all stakeholders, especially the police, to assist us in realizing this great dream".

The INEC boss, who went to the force headquarters in company with some top officials of the commission, expressed appreciation to the police and said he looked forward to a better relationship with them.

Speaking, the IG said for INEC to achieve free and fair elections, the police must be fully involved.

He promised that the sacred trust placed on them by Nigerians would be upheld by ensuring that citizens would come out freely to vote for their leaders without any form of harassment from any quarters.

"I promise total commitment in ensuring that the security of lives and properties will be our primary duty. We will also ensure free and fair elections by fighting with all the powers within us any form of crime or criminality. We will ensure that no ballot box is snatched and we will also provide enough security to even the remote areas in the country. We are looking forward to the timetable and once it is out, we will work towards it and make sure it tallies with our master plan.

"We will ensure that one-man-one-vote counts in the forthcoming elections," he said.

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