The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, on Friday, said the command arrested 45 suspected electoral offenders and recorded 54 major cases across the 13,325 polling units in the state during the just-concluded general elections.
Owohunwa added that 2,870 Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) were recovered in the course of police election security operations from various electoral offenders. Other items recovered included seven weapons of violence, including two firearms, 28 snatched ballot boxes, one Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines and one Point of Sale (PoS) machine deployed for vote buying.
He made the revelation when he hosted strategic commanders in Lagos State Police Command at police officers’ mess, Ikeja, Lagos to undertake a postmortem of the 2023 elections in Lagos State, debrief experiences, and cap up the operation with a view to evaluating the police performances and drawing lessons that will strengthen the Nigeria election security governance operations in future.
He said: “Out of the cases under investigation, it is also on record that Lagos State was the first command to conclude the investigation of the first set of 14 electoral offenders, eight electoral offences, and promptly processed eight to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for prosecution in line with the Electoral Act and the directives of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alkali Baba, while others involved in unlawful possession of firearms and sundry criminal acts were charged to courts by the police.
“Investigations into the remaining electoral offences have reached advanced stages and as soon as they are concluded, they will be similarly processed for prosecution…”
in furtherance to efforts to sanitise our electoral space and discourage the resort to extra-legal means to attain political ends in future electoral engagements in the State. It must be highlighted that for our prompt efforts, the Lagos State Police Command has received commendations from the Inspector General of Police and local as well and international observers and other segments of the society.
“As we now re-direct our attention from the election security functions to our routine policing mandates, the IGP and indeed, Lagos residents expect us to sustain our sense of service and professionalism towards guaranteeing the safety and security of all citizens in Lagos State. In this regard, the immediate challenge facing us is the increasing threat that violent criminals, particularly, cultists are posing to Lagos residents. Indeed, the activities of cultists have today, evolved to become the most concerning threat to public peace and security in the State and it is expedient that we strengthen our operational strategies and action plans that will address this potent threat.
“To complement this initiative, all Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers are charged to reinvigorate their convoy patrol, intelligence-led operations, and visibility policing that will emphasize physical deployment of police personnel and operational assets to police the public space. Armchair DPOs or Area Commanders shall not be tolerated.
“Above all, you must continually engage the citizens in your jurisdictions and integrate them into your policing activities so as to bridge the trust gap, while resisting the urge of corruption, custodial violence, misuse of authority, or misapplication of lethal assets all of which will widen the trust and partnership gap between us and the citizens and impact on our optimal service delivery. You must be reminded that you will be held vicariously liable for these professional breaches if recorded under your command.