- The Lagos State Police Commissioner, Idowu Owohunwa, admitted that there were some cases of electoral violence in the state, which they anticipated.
- The commissioner insisted that the violence is not widespread as reported and would not affect the dynamics of the electoral process.
- He also said that most of the electoral violence cases were properly responded to by the police.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, has refuted reports of widespread violence and voter suppression during the governorship and House of Assembly elections held on Saturday, March 18, in the state.
This is as the commissioner said that some of the cases of electoral violence that happened in the state were anticipated.
According to Channels Television, this was made known by Owohunwa, during an interview, where he insisted that the violence is not as widespread as to affect the general dynamics of the process.
Owohunwa who confirmed attacks on voters and electoral officers at some Lagos polling units, however, noted that most of those cases were properly responded to by the police.
Cases of violence properly attended to
- The commissioner said, “It is true that we’ve recorded instances of violence in some areas within the state. The incidents were not as widespread as to affect the general dynamics of the process.
- “Most of the instances were properly responded to by the police because we anticipated them.’’
- “I should be in the position of authority to tell you practically what is on the ground because whatever I tell you is not driven by sentiment.
- ‘’It’s not driven by political affiliation and is not driven by emotion. I deployed those men, I get constant feedback from my officers on the field that’s to the development. So yes, there were cases reported cases of security breaches, and yes, we responded to most of them.
- ’Yes, in some instances, it will naturally affect the electoral process, but I can confirm that it is not widespread, though it was disrupted in some cases.”
On whether the Lagos police command anticipated the violence, he said, “Yes, in some instances. As security practitioners, when you plan operations of this nature, you must anticipate that some elements will want to become adversaries in the process.
- “We anticipated and then we integrated that into our general operational plan and we activated that protocol effectively in this instance. Most of those breaches, the police were able to respond promptly.”
It’s illegal for voters to take laws into their hands
The commissioner, while responding to a trending video where voters supposedly were seen overpowering a young man alleged to have snatched a ballot box described the action as illegal, saying that 2 wrongs cannot make a right.
He added that contrary to information on social media, the young man is alive, rescued by the police and other security agencies and that the suspected electoral offender was receiving medical attention.
- “He’s stable; he’s not dead,” Owohunwa said:
Owohunwa further noted that a lot of arrests were made and ballot papers were recovered.
- He added, “In most of those cases of ballot box snatching, we recovered virtually all the ballot boxes.’’
On reports of disenfranchisement in Eti-Osa Local Government Area (LGA), Owohunwa stated that the area had not presented a major challenge.
- He said, “Rather, where we have issues now, I think, is around VGC [Victoria Garden City], specifically anyway, and the issue had to do more with the relocation of the polling units from the within the estate to a location outside the gate.
- “That falls within the mandate of INEC, and when my attention was drawn to it, I drew the attention of the REC to the development. As we speak, he has personally gone to the location and is trying to engage the electorate, so that they can find a common ground.”