Abuja – The Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in the FCT has warned political parties in the territory against acts of violence before, during and after the forthcoming general elections.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr Wilson Inalegwu, and Commissioner of Police in the territory, gave the warning during a meeting between the committee and representatives of political parties.
Inalegwu listed some of the acts that could cause violence to include use of hate language during campaigns, thuggery, removing and burning posters and billboard of opponents.
He also warned that anyone arrested for political thuggery would be thoroughly investigated to find out who his or her sponsors were with a view to prosecuting them.
“We urge you to avoid acts that will lead to electoral violence; we want to warn you against thuggery, people being hired to perpetrate violence that will not be tolerated.
“Also, we advise very strongly that in your campaigns, you should avoid hate language; your campaigns should address key issues. Languages that cause division should be avoided.
“If we arrest any political thug causing violence, we will not stop at him; we will investigate up to whoever sponsors him.
‘As he – thug is being prosecuted, whoever sponsors him will also be prosecuted,’’ he said.
Inalegwu said politicians would not be allowed into polling stations in motorcade, using siren during the election, adding that all polling units would be adequately covered in terms of security.
Prof. Jacob Jato, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for FCT and co-chair of the committee, said that INEC was desirous of a credible election devoid of violence.
Jato, however, said that this was possible with cooperation of all stakeholders and urged the representatives of the parties to work with the commission for peaceful election in the territory.
He said so far, 54 per cent of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in the territory had been distributed to registered voters.
The REC added that the PVCs for those captured in the recently concluded Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercised in the FCT were read for collection.
The reports state that representatives all of the security agencies in the FCT, including the military, DSS, Police, FRSC and other para-military organisations are members of the committee.
Three EU Election Observers, who are already in the country for the February polls also attended the meeting.
Political parties which attended the meeting included: PDP, APC, APGA, PDM, Action Alliance, and Labour Party.