No fewer than 150 suspected political thugs arrested in various parts of the country for election violence will be arraigned in court this week.
Our reporter learnt that the state police command had been directed by the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to file criminal charges against the suspects who were apprehended for ballot box snatching, assaulting police officers on election duty, illegal arms possession, impersonation and malicious damage, amongst others.
Our correspondent learnt the IG had come under pressure from chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, the Peoples Democratic Party, government officials and other influential Nigerians not to press charges against the suspects.
It was gathered that Adamu was said to be miffed by the attacks on policemen by some of the thugs.
The police last week arrested 128 persons across the country for various electoral offences and recovered 38 assorted weapons from them.
They also nabbed five male suspects in Umuahia, Abia State, in connection with the attack on a Deputy Superintendent of Police who was on election duty at a collation centre.
Similarly, police operatives on Friday apprehended three persons, including a House of Representatives’ candidate in Brass Constituency elections in Bayelsa State, Israel Gioli, for allegedly masterminding the attack on a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Kola Okunola in Twon, Brass, last Sunday. The others are Tamarapreye Victor and Azi Newton, both 34 years old.
Okunola was leading a team providing protection for electoral officials, voters and materials when he was attacked and molested by the thugs allegedly led by Gioli.
Consequently, the acting IG has directed the Special Election Investigation Team to immediately commence the investigation and prosecution of all those arrested in connection with election violence in the country.
Confirming the development on Saturday, the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Frank Mba, said, “I know that the prosecution of some of the suspects whose investigation had been concluded would start next week; they would be charged next week (this week).”