The Nigeria Police Force on Monday made a U-turn on its earlier warning to voters to stay away from polling centres after exercising their civic duty on days of elections.
The Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, had on Thursday said there was no need for voters to stay back after casting their votes because two or three policemen would be stationed at every polling unit to guard their votes.
“Cast your votes and go and cool down. If you remain there, there is a likelihood that you will commit an offence,’’ he had said.
But the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, the All Progressives Congress, the Peoples Democratic Party and others faulted the warning, saying there was no aspect of the electoral law that prohibited voters from stay behind to monitor ballot counting.
“As many of the voters may wish to remain to see the actual counting of the votes after voting has ended,” Jega had stated.
However, the Force Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojukwu, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, said that people could stay behind as long as they maintained the peace, and obeyed the electoral guidelines.
“Anybody who commits any offence against the Electoral Act would be dealt with in line with the law. Voters are free to stay behind if they chose to,” Ojukwu stated.