The Nigerian Police Force. Photo credit: www.npf.gov.ng

The Police Service Commission (PSC) has said its officials were overstretched in protecting voters and election materials during the governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi.

Mr Ikechukwu Ani, the Head of Press and Public Relations of the Commission, revealed this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

He lauded the police and other security agencies but admitted that they were overwhelmed in certain circumstances.

Reacting to the interim report from the commission’s teams that monitored the elections, Ani said the report indicated that the police and other security were very professional in spite of numerous challenges in the two states.

He said the monitoring teams from the commission observed over proliferation of illegal weapons, inadequate logistics and challenging terrains as militating factors in the two states.

“The commission monitored the conduct of police officers on election duties in the Nov. 16 Bayelsa and Kogi elections and observed that the police were professional in their conduct.

“It was observed that the activities of illegal armed men overstretched the capacity of these officers to protect the voters and the electoral materials.

“The commission, therefore, calls on the leadership of the security agencies to immediately take steps to mop up these arms to safeguard the nation’s democracy,” he said.

He said the monitoring team also observed that the police did its best to contain the situation but noted that in several instances they were overwhelmed.

Ani said that the findings showed that the police were early at voting centres and had adequate presence in most places.

He said the team received about 31 distress calls to its advertised dedicated telephone numbers, adding that most of the complaints were on snatching of ballot boxes and indiscriminate shootings.

According to him, there are also complaints about other election malpractices such as vote-buying and multiple thump printing.