The Inspector-General of Police IGP Usman Alkali Baba, Thursday directed the State Commissioners of Police CPs in the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT to immediately arrest any political party candidate using state government security outfit for any task during the campaigns ahead of the 2023 elections.
The IGP also directed the Commissioners of Police, CPs to ensure effective deployment of security personnel in all the campaign grounds throughout the period of campaign adding that they should draw up a time table on venue and time of campaign of political parties in consultation with its leaders.
The Police boss gave the order at an opening speech of the IGP’s Conference with Strategic Police Managers from the rank of Commissioners and above at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
According to him, the overall goal is with a view to re-energising the Force in sustaining a stable internal security order.
The Police boss also said that main purpose of the meeting is to review the evolving political programmes as laid out by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and chart clear pathways to ensure a smooth electoral process in the countdown to the 2023 general elections.
He said: “As you are aware, in compliance with Sec. 94(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, INEC has confirmed that electioneering campaigns by all political parties would officially commence on 28th September, 2022.
“The import of this is that the national political space will soon become active and the possibility of increase in politically related offences may become heightened across the country.
“As the lead security agency in the election security process, the political campaigns security governance is, primarily, the statutory obligation of the Nigeria Police Force”.
He reminded the senior Police officers that the provision of the requisite professional leadership to achieve an election security mandate rests squarely on their shoulders adding that in the performance of this strategic role, the Electoral Act 2022 and the Code of Conduct as well as the Rules of Engagement for Security Personnel on Electoral Duty which was issued in 2020 by the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) must remain their guide.
The IGP also charged the Police officers to ensure the safety and security of all persons and properties that will be involved in the entire electoral process without bias is maintained by the officers, rank and file
He also called for a very strict enforcement of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Criminal/Penal Code as well as the Electoral Laws without fear or favour with regards to security, traffic, and crowd management at venues of political parties’ campaigns, rallies and other activities relating to the elections.
He said that the Force should ensure the security of the public space towards guaranteeing a crime-free and enabling environment for the political campaigns and other components of the electoral process to thrive.
On deployment of personnel during the campaigns he said that they should exhibit a high degree of professionalism and fairness in dealings with all parties.
He added that such Force personnel are also expected to adopt a professional orientation that emphasises democratic values, and respect for human rights and dignity.
The IGP while calling for a free and fair polls said that the process, the outcome and the credibility of the 2023 general election will be measured by the extent to which the officer abide by these professional and legal standards as well as the nature of their decisions and actions with respect to their interface with political parties in emplacing appropriate machineries to guarantee a peaceful electioneering campaign process.