FCT Poll: Police cancel movement restrictions, identified 13 flash points
The FCT Police Command has cancelled restrictions on movement it imposed on residents of Abuja during the area council election holding today.
Spokesperson of the command, Josephine Adeh, said: “Members of the public are hereby advised to go about their normal legitimate business without the fear of harassment or molestation of any kind from any quarters.
“The Commissioner of Police, FCT Police Command, CP Babaji Sunday, while assuring members of public of the provision of a water-tight security before, during and after the election, urges them to come out in their numbers to vote for candidates of their choice.
“He also calls on residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious or abnormal occurrence to the police through the following emergency lines: 08032003913, 08061581938, 07057337653 and 08028940883.”
The police command had a few days ago said that for security reasons it would enforce restrictions on movement on the day of election.
In a related development, the police have identified 13 flash points in today’s area council elections.
They include Karshi, Deidei, Zuma Rock, Kabusa, Gishiri, Abaji Nebu, Yangoji, Yaba, Kwali Kwaita, Mate, Azam, Kuje Pegi and Bwari.
A civil society organisation, Centre for Transparency and Advocacy (CTA), therefore urged security agencies to beef up security in those areas to ensure that voters exercise their franchise peacefully.
The council election, which is being overseen by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), will hold in polling units throughout the six area councils to fill empty seats in 68 constituencies, including six chairmanships and 62 councillorships.
Fourteen political parties, which will be fielding candidates for the slots, would be seeking the votes of 1,373,492 registered voters in the FCT.
Ahead of the election, Yiaga Africa has urged security agencies to be on the alert to forestall any attempt to circumvent the exercise by mischievous and violent elements.
YIAGA Executive Director, Samson Itodo who made the call yesterday during a community outreach in Kuje Market in Abuja, urged the security agencies to collaborate with INEC to secure election materials, personnel and voters.
According to Itodo, the role of security agencies must also include providing support where needed for early deployment of election materials and personnel.
The director called on all contesting political parties to abide by the rules governing the conduct of the elections. “Parties must admonish their supporters to refrain from acts that could jeopardize the process or disturb public peace.”
He called on voters to come out in their numbers to vote and adhere to the electoral guidelines.
YIAGA director of programme, Cynthia Mbamalu expressed regret that the administration and management of local government as the third tier of government in Nigeria has consistently fallen below the expected standard of democratic leadership.
According to Mbamalu, the development is further enabled by the absence of credible and transparent elections at the local level in the states.
“For a level of government established to be the closest to the people, it has become a level of government that is majorly inaccessible to the people and failing to provide democratic governance at the local level.
“While the nation awaits the amendment of the constitution to guarantee the autonomy of local government, regular election at the local level presents an opportunity to entrench democracy.”