The Police Service Commission (PSC) monitored the conduct of Police Officers during the Edo State Gubernatorial election held on 14th July, 2012 as part of its responsibility of holding the police to account for its actions.
2. PREPARATION FOR THE ELECTION
The Police Service Commission had earlier issued guidelines on the conduct of police officers during elections in Nigeria. The guidelines include among other things the need for police officers on duty during elections to always be at alert, approachable, professional, impartial and wear name and number tags.
The Commission also liaised with the Police authorities on the need for proper policing of the elections. Similarly, we circulated three telephone numbers that complaints can be given to the Commission about the conduct of police officers during the elections for the three Senatorial districts- Edo North, Edo central and Edo South.
3. ELECTION DAY MONITORING
The Police Service Commission monitoring team was made up of eleven officers led by Dr. Otive Igbuzor, Commissioner and Chairman of Strategy Committee of the Commission and Ms. Comfort Obi, Chairman, Public Affairs Committee of the Commission.
The officers were divided into three teams to cover the three senatorial districts.
The teams visited seven local government areas namely:
1. Ikpoba/Okah Local Government Area
12 Polling Units
2. Oredo Local Government Area
13 Polling Units
3. Egor Local Government Area
9 Polling Units
4. Uhunwode Local Government Area
1 polling unit
5. Esan West Local Government Area
6 Polling Units in Ekpoma
6. Esan Central Local Government Area
4 polling units
7. Etsako West Local Government Area
6 Polling Units
4. OBSERVATIONS ON SECURITY AND POLICE CONDUCT
1. We observed that there was security presence in most of the places visited by the teams especially Police, the army and civil defence corps. The army was stationed on the highways, major junctions, INEC office and outside polling units.
2. The elections went on peacefully in all the areas visited. Both election officials and security officers arrived polling units on time in most of the places.
3. There was improvement in the deployment of police officers compared with previous elections.
4. The police officers on election duty in the Edo State gubernatorial elections conducted themselves very well. There were at least two police officers in each polling unit visited with support from other security agencies.
5. The police officers were generally courteous, approachable and co-operative with their name tags and numbers displayed on their uniforms.
6. The police officers on election duty were not carrying arms except the Police Mobile Force units and soldiers.
7. We received 162 phone calls during the election either complaining of inadequate security or absence of police presence.
The Police Service Commission commends the Police officers that participated in the Edo State gubernatorial election for their professional conduct. In particular, the Commission commends the Deputy Inspector General of Police ( DIG), Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Commissioners of Police and other senior police officers for the prompt response to calls for security support and beef up in some places.
We commend Police authorities for the improvement in logistics arrangement for the elections.
The Commission notes with pride that the era that police officers are involved in election malpractice is gone.
Dr. Otive Igbuzor
Hon. Commissioner/Chair, Strategy Committee
Issued on 14th July, 2012