Police on Tuesday banned the use of dogs for security at polling units during Saturday’s governorship and house of assembly elections in the country.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja, said dogs had been classified as “offensive weapons” under the country’s laws.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to comply with the directive to avoid harassment during the elections.
The statement read: “The Nigeria Police Force has deemed it necessary to educate and caution Nigerians on the use of pets, especially, dogs, at the polling units on election day, as such act runs contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, as amended.
“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.
“The Nigeria Police Force, therefore, warns those who intend to display their pets, dogs specifically, for whatever purpose, at the polling units, to desist as such constitutes a violation of the electoral Act, 2022, as amended, and other extant laws.”