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Group petitions Buhari, indicts security agents for election malpractices

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Women from 12 Local Councils of Imo West (Orlu zone), Senatorial district, protesting alleged soldiers, police and para-military personnel involvement in cases of electoral malpractices during the recent elections.

• Seeks rejigging of poll security apparatus
As apprehension mounts over the March 9, 2019 gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly election, President Muhammadu Buhari has been called upon to thinker with some institutions saddled with the responsibilities of conducting free, fair and credible elections in Delta State.

The call was contained in a petition from a Warri-based group, Millennium Evaluators Society (MES) to the president and chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmud Yakubu. It is dated February 26, 2019 and signed by its chairman and secretary, Sir Freedom Haggai and Mrs. Rita Otite.

In the petition, which was sighted by The Guardian, MES accused Delta State military heads, Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) of colluding with INEC to subvert the Saturday 23, 2019 election in the state in favour of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

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Apart from the president and INEC chairman, the group also sent copies of the petition to the national chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, as well as the National Security Adviser, Mohammed Monguno.

While praying that the indicted institutions should be insulated from further compromise henceforth, MES demanded: “We are of the strong conviction that such malfeasance tolerated for so long is responsible for our lack of progress and development.

“It might be imperative in the interim for the headship of INEC and the security agencies to be tweaked before the next election, while a thorough investigation of their activities should be initiated.

“Those found wanting from the investigation to be sacked and prosecuted to avoid a blight in the anti-corruption crusade of your government and the outcome of the state assembly and governorship elections in the state. Your impeccable sense of justice and fairness is an assert for the governance of the country.”

The group further stated that it is in “the league of non-partisan Nigerians who are not blinded by the pains of your innovative measures, in not appreciating your leadership strides in critical spheres of our lives. Our strong belief in the longtime benefits of your policies has prompted us to alert you on the corrupt practices, which characterised the presidential and National Assembly election, carried out by soldiers and policemen serving in Delta state.”

MES expressed its strong convictions that the “preparations, which heralded the just-concluded elections made many Nigerians to envision a transparent and credible election. Unfortunately, that was not the case last Saturday in Delta State.

“Those of us who witnessed the repulsive actions of soldiers and policemen, who have become an extended family of the corrupt and discredited PDP politicians by virtue of their serving in the state for so long, we are not at all surprised at the level of compromise and collaboration between politicians of PDP extraction and the divisional police officers, area commanders and battalion commanders in the state.”

The group declared: “These soldiers and policemen, compromised by PDP, were very effective in enforcing the guidelines and the law against erring politicians of different political persuasions, but they readily turned a blind eye when the violators were of PDP extraction. This was the congenial and enabler that provided the politicians of PDP stock that resulted in the electoral unearned victories recorded by the PDP in areas where the results they turned out were against the run of events as supported by genuine results released in different parts of the country.”

However, in responding to the allegations, Delta State Commissioner of Police, Adeyinka Adeleke, who doubles as head of the security committee, saddled with overseeing the electoral process, said he was encouraging the group to come forward with proofs to enable his office attend to them.

CP Adeleke, who spoke with The Guardian yesterday, said: “We encourage such group to come with their proofs to enable us act as we have zero tolerance to election malpractice of any kind, irrespective of who is involved. What we will not attend to are issues from social media. We need verifiable evidence that we can work with.”

It was gathered that so far, five people have been arrested for electoral malpractices, but identities of the alleged culprits remain closedly guarded, as the state’s Acting Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Chuks Orisewezie, refused to disclose the identities of the officers on the watchlist as at the time of filing this report.


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