The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, yesterday, said 781 persons were arrested during the Presidential and Governorship elections across the country.
The IGP disclosed this during a meeting with Commissioners of Police from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as well as Assistant Inspectors General of Police in charge of Zonal Commands.
According to the IGP, the exact figure of those arrested currently is 781.
While 203 persons were arrested during the presidential election, 578 others were apprehended during the Governorship and State Assembly polls.
Over 700 were arrested by operatives of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), for violation of electoral laws during the 2023 general elections.
Giving details of how the 781, persons were arrested, the IGP said: “Feedbacks so far received across the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT indicates that a total of 489 major electoral infractions leading to the arrest of a total of 781, offenders were recorded nationally, both during the Presidential and National Assembly Elections and the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly Elections, while not less than 66 firearms of various descriptions were recovered from electoral adversaries.
“A summary indicates that a total of 185 major electoral offences were reported during the Presidential and National Assembly Elections, with 203 arrests made and 18 firearms recovered. Similarly, a total of 304 electoral offences were recorded during the Gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly polls, with a total number of 578 arrest and 48 firearms.”
While assuring that the police would collaborate with INEC leadership in ensuring that all electoral offenders are expeditiously and transparently prosecuted, the IGP said it would be done not only in the interest of criminal justice delivery, but in furtherance to police’s vision of sanitising the democratic space.
He said: “ I have directed that all electoral offences case files across all State Commands be submitted to my office, where a committee has been established to centrally collate and coordinate the processing , preparatory to the commencement of prosecution process.
“While this process is being perfected, you are directed to draw on your discretionary powers in granting administrative bail to the suspects to avoid human rights infractions that could result from lengthy custody of the offenders pending the pressing of charges against them. In so doing, however, you must be mindful of the nature of their crimes and ensure that they are by law and practice, fall within the categories that are ordinarily bailable at police level.”
The IGP also condemned the action of the political actors who engage in ethnic profiling in advancing their interests and urged Nigerians to rather strive towards unity.