As the political parties begin their campaigns and rallies for the 2019 elections, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris has directed the 36 Commissioners of Police in the State Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and their supervisory Assistant Inspectors General of Police in the 12 Zonal Commands to protect and safeguard all venues of campaigns, rallies and other INEC approved electioneering activities of all political parties throughout the country.
Briefing journalists in Abuja, the Force PRO, Jimoh Moshood said “Threat Assessment and deployment of Police personnel to flash points and vulnerable areas have been carried out to prevent and nip in the bud any form of inter-party frictions, political thuggery and clashes that can lead to disturbance of public peace anywhere in the Country.”
The Police also advised all political parties “to abide by the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and INEC Guidelines, and play the game according to the rules. They are to prevail on their flag bearers, members, supporters and fans not to engage in any act or conduct that can incite violence or disturbance of public peace anywhere in the Country during the campaigns and beyond.
“The Commissioners of Police in the Commands and Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police throughout the Country are under strict instructions of the Inspector General of Police not to tolerate any form of political thuggery, intimidation, demonstration of violent conducts and over dramatization of political fans that can precipitate political clashes and jeopardize prevailing peace in their Commands from any political party or politician(s).
“Commissioners of Police are to effect arrest and immediately prosecute any party member or supporters in possession of firearms or dangerous weapons during political campaigns and rallies in their respective States. “
On hate speech, the Jimoh said “the Force will not condone hate speeches, indecent and criminal defamatory conducts from any individual(s) or group(s) that can cause threat to public peace and safety anywhere in the Country during the campaigns and beyond. The full weight of the law will be applied on any individual(s) or group(s) arrested.”
He equally noted that “the Commissioners of Police are to continue the meetings of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) with INEC and other security and safety agencies on the implementation of the action plans and security arrangements of the Nigeria Police Force in ensuring adequate security for the political campaigns and rallies for the 2019 general elections.
“The Inspector General of Police has equally warned all Commissioners of Police and other senior officers that have one role or the other to play in the implementation of the security arrangement for the 2019 general elections not to engage in political partisanship or bias but to remain focus and provide security for all throughout the period. “