As the 2023 general elections draw closer, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) said it is mobilising its personnel to enforce the relevant sections of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act during the elections.

Director-general of NAPTIP, Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, who disclosed this on Monday in Abuja, said section 23 and 24 of the VAPP Act prohibits all forms of political violence by individuals and state actors.

She said “NAPTIP will mobilise its personnel to enforce the relevant sections of the VAPP Act during the upcoming elections. Duly trained Personnel of the Agency will be present at various polling centers at the Ward level, to monitor and ensure a peaceful voting exercise.”

According to her, political violence is any crime perpetrated in the course of political activities, like elections which includes: thuggery, mugging, use of force to disrupt meetings; or the use of dangerous weapons that may cause bodily harm or injury.

“Specifically, section 23 provides that a person who commits political violence is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment of up to four years or a fine of up to five hundred thousand or both.

“The section also criminalises any attempt to commit political violence; inciting, aiding, abetting or counselling another person to commit the crime including receiving or assisting a person to commit political crime.

“For political actors, that is, a group of persons, structured or organised institutions and agencies, section 24 provides the punishment of imprisonment of up to four years or a fine of up to one million naira or both. Section 24 further provides that the state is liable for the offence committed by its Agents and the court shall award appropriate compensation commensurate with the extent and amount of damages,” she explained.

The DG said the VAPP is very clear about what constitutes political violence and the different category of persons and groups that would be held liable for committing, inciting aiding, and abetting political violence in the FCT, adding that the provisions are also applicable to the 35 States that have adopted the VAPP Act as law.

She stated that in collaboration with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), the agency has put in place a number of mechanisms targeted at sensitising the public against perpetrating acts of political violence.

“Since the beginning of this month, carefully curated jingles in English language and pidgin have been airing on two local radio stations to warn FCT residents of the consequences of any act of political violence within this period.

“Awareness creation materials including Posters and Red Card handbills have been produced for this purpose. These materials that would be unveiled today would be posted in strategic locations across the 6 Area Councils,” she added.


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