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BREAKING: Labour Party, APC, NNPP React As Police Bar Dogs From Polling Units On Election Day

BREAKING: Labour Party, APC, NNPP React As Police Bar Dogs From Polling Units On Election Day

The Labour Party (LP) and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) have disagreed with the Nigeria Police Force for barring citizens from going to their polling units on election day with pet dogs.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, March 7, the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council spokesman, Yunusa Tanko, countered the police directive, saying the force should concentrate on important matters during the election instead.

Tanko protested, saying it is safe for electorates to protect themselves from thugs on election day. He recalled that some political thugs and hoodlums invaded some polling units across the country during the presidential election destroying ballot boxes and election materials. At the same time, he said security agents watched them do so.

He said, “It is unfortunate that what is essential in our security apparatus was not taken into cognizance. How did bringing a pet to protect oneself now become an issue? We were all witnesses when hoodlums destroyed ballot boxes and electoral materials. Yet, no single arrest has been made, precisely in Lagos, where voters were being harassed with an ethnic dichotomy in the presence of our security agents.”

According to Tanko, the police statement targeted the ‘Obidient movement.’

“While we condemn the act of violence, we will not also decry the issue of why people should protect themselves on March 11. This has become very important, considering the fact that the thugs in Lagos have been allowed to run riots.

“I think the Nigerian Police should do the needful by making arrests to deter those who plan to foment violence this weekend. The idea of bringing pets is own people’s way of protecting themselves against attack. Be that as it may, our people should not be singled out in terms of protecting themselves,” Tanko added.

On his part, the spokesman for the New Nigerian Peoples Party Presidential (NNPP) Campaign Council, Ladipo Johnson, urged the security agents to concentrate on their duty to ensure a free, fair and well-conducted exercise than worrying about who brings a dog to the polling unit or not.

He said, “I think the police should concentrate on their basic duties. They should ensure elections are conducted free and fair, security-wise. I think we should concentrate on something serious instead of pets.”

In a swift statement ahead of the March 11 governorship elections, the Director of Publicity for the APC, Bala Ibrahim, said the directive by the police was in order.

He said, “Except you are using the pet for a guide, I don’t see a reason anybody should go the performance of civic responsibility with dogs. But if they are blind or incapacitated and dependent on that pet, it is understandable. You know it not everyone is friendly to animals.

“There are people who are scared when you are going to vote. You should be prepared to meet people of all categories. Should you decide to go with dogs, you should have it at the back of your mind that you are putting someone’s safety at stake.

“There should be arrangements by operatives to provide adequate security instead of allowing people to come to polling units with dogs for protection.”
No Pets, Dogs Allowed At Polling Units – Police Issues Strong Warning

Naija News understands that the political party’s reactions were coming hours after the Police Force warned Nigerians in a statement on Tuesday not to bring pets, including dogs, to their polling units on Saturday during the governorship and state assembly election.

According to the Police, the presence of pets or dogs at the polling unit violates the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, as amended.

The statement handed down to newsmen in Abuja yesterday by the Force Public Relations Officer, FPRO, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi’ declared that the act was criminal and condemnable as it runs contrary to the provisions of the new act.

The statement explained that “The provision of Section 126 (1) of the Electoral Act. 2022 explains clearly those actions exhibited by electorates that constitute electoral breaches and are punishable under the law, and paragraph (f) mentions possession of weapons calculated to intimidate voters and electoral officers.

”Dogs could be classed as offensive weapons as their owners/handlers can use them to intimidate, harass and cause assault and bodily harm to others.

”The Dogs Act, CAP 55 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1958 as domesticated in various States, and other Criminal Laws in Nigeria are trite.

”The conceived ideas and plans by certain individuals, electorates, and groups of people to go to the polls accompanied by pets are unacceptable, stand discouraged, and remain an act of electoral infraction as it will cause harassment and intimidation.”

Therefore the police strongly warn Nigerians ”To desist as such constitutes a violation of the electoral Act, 2022, as amended, and other extant laws.”