The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has warned against the plan by some individuals to take dogs to polling units for security during the election.
Muyiwa Adejobi, force spokesperson, in a statement on Tuesday, said dogs could be classified as “offensive weapons”.
On February 25, Nigerians went to the polls to elect a new president and members of the national assembly.
During the exercise, thugs disrupted the process in some polling units and attacked voters.
Owing to the incident, some Nigerians are considering taking dogs to polling units for the March 11 governorship and state assembly elections to protect themselves.
Reacting, the police said the handlers of dogs at polling units may use them to intimidate and cause bodily harm to others.
The police said the use of dogs contravenes section 126 of the electoral act of 2022.
“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,” the statement reads.
“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.”
“Section 126 (1)(f) states that: “No person shall do any of the following acts or things in a polling unit or within a distance of 300 metres of a polling unit on the date on which an election is held — be in possession of any offensive weapons or wear any dress or have any facial or other decoration which in any event is calculated to intimidate voters.”