Mr Princewill OKorie, the National President, Association for Public Policy Analysis has called on the Nigeria Police Force to train members of Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) on electoral offences, violence and crime.
He said that the training would assist them in acquiring knowledge on electoral process to complement the police efforts in handling community related security issues in the 2023 general elections.
OKorie said this on Thursday at the Anti – Electoral Offences, Violence and Crime Sensitisation Forum for PCRC members in Abuja.
The programme was organised by the Association for Public Policy Analysis in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency and Police Community Relations Committee, Abuja Branch.
He said, “There is need to equip PCRC members with information on electoral offences, violence and crime segments of Electoral Act 2022.
“This will enable them support the police in the community related security issues during the 2023 general elections.’’
OKorie said that the 2022 Electoral Act which was signed into law by the President Muhammadu Buhari should be enforced as a law.
According to him, it is on this premise that it becomes imperative that the Nigeria Police Force should empower PCRC members who are their partners and supporters to assist them in the 2023 general elections.
“The police in synergy with PCRC and other relevant stakeholders should take the anti – electoral offences, violence and crime message to communities.
“This community sensitisation will assist citizens to report incidents of crime and violence which violates the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, to the Nigeria Police Force for investigation and prosecution.
“They will also provide information and evidence that will aid litigation,’’ OKorie said.
According to him, it is estimated that total number of police personnel across the country is put 371,800 officers.
“It is a huge challenge for this number to police a country of two million people, covering 36 states and 774 local Government Areas.
“ In view of this, there is need to raise voice for protection of the electoral process from being hijacked by criminal minded politicians and their collaborators who undermine the process.’’
He said that electoral offences, violence and crime inhibited the realisation of freedom, equality and justice.
“This is because citizens must be free to equally exercise their franchise through an electoral process that enable them cast their vote for the candidate of their choice and results, transparently managed and declared.
“Electoral offences , violence and crime by their nature of threat, killings, destruction of electoral materials, vote buying, inflicting injury on electoral officials constitute an enemy to free, fair and credible elections.
“Hence, the criminals who perpetrate these acts should not be allowed to be free during the 2023 general elections,’’ he said.
In his remarks, the Chairman of PCRC Abuja branch, Otunba Bolaji Adigun, said that community policing and relations were imperative to community development.
He described violence and crime prevention as collective efforts to reduce the incidents of crimes before and after the 2023 general elections.
Also, the FCT Commissioner of Police, Babaji Sunday, urged Nigerians to ensure that their voters’ cards are verified to avoid confusion during the election.
Sunday, who was represented by CSP Yusuf Ibrahim said this always caused violence during accreditation and voting period.
The Director-General of NOA, Dr Garba Abari, commended the sensitization programme, saying it would educate the public on the electoral law to prevent pre and post electoral violence. (NAN)