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2023: IGP Bans Use Of State Sponsored Security Outfits For Campaigns

The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba has ordered the immediate ban of the use of Amotekun, the Eastern security network and other states sponsored security outfits during the electioneering campaigns billed to kick off nationwide by week

Speaking during the strategic police managers conference held at the Force headquarters in Abuja, he explained that the measure was aimed at ensuring the general elections were not exposed to any form of compromise and abuses.

The IGP who charged states commissioners of police to adhere to the dictates of laid down rules and regulations maintained that the political campaigns, security, and governance were primarily, the statutory obligation of the Nigeria Police Force.

He particularly reminded the police chiefs to discharge the requisite professional leadership to achieve election security in tandem with the Electoral Act 2022 and the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Security Personnel on Electoral Duty which was issued in 2020 by the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).

According to him, “We must leave no citizen in doubt of our commitment to national peace and security, as well as our unwavering determination to advance the democratic and national security interests of our beloved nation.

“The 2023 general election and the processes leading to it will certainly put us to test in this regard. Drawing on our widely commended performances in recent elections, however, I am very confident, and I trust that you shall not fail both the Police institution and the country in the upcoming electoral engagements.

“In aid of this process and as the ban on public campaigns by political parties is lifted by INEC, you must note the following: Familiarize yourself fully with the Electoral Act and the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Security Personnel on Electoral Duty and situate all your decisions and actions within them as well as your legal obligations under the Constitution, Nigeria Police Act, and other extant laws. Note and be strictly guided by the fact that all quasi-security outfits that were established by the various State governments and local communities and which are operating under different nomenclatures, structures, and orientations have no legal roles under the Electoral Act 2020 and within the electoral process.

“Hence, you are charged to ensure that they are not in any way or manner utilised by any political or community actor for any role during the electioneering campaign and other electoral processes in the countdown to the 2023 general elections. Such will amount to acts in illegality and a potent threat to national security which could be inimical to our nation’s democratic interest.”

“In aid of this process and as the ban on public campaigns by political parties is lifted by INEC, you must note the following: Familiarize yourself fully with the Electoral Act and the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Security Personnel on Electoral Duty and situate all your decisions and actions within them as well as your legal obligations under the Constitution, Nigeria Police Act, and other extant laws

“Note and be strictly guided by the fact that all quasi-security outfits that were established by the various State governments and local communities and which are operating under different nomenclatures, structures, and orientations have no legal roles under the Electoral Act 2020 and within the electoral process. Hence, you are charged to ensure that they are not in any way or manner utilised by any political or community actor for any role during the electioneering campaign and other electoral processes in the countdown to the 2023 general elections. Such will amount to acts of illegality, and a potent threat to national security which could be inimical to our nation’s democratic interest.

He said that it was incumbent on the police chiefs to maintain an oath of neutrality in accordance with the Electoral Act; be always at alert during electoral security deployments; exhibit a high degree of professionalism and fairness in their dealings with all parties. ”We are also expected to adopt a professional orientation that emphasises democratic values, and respect for human rights and dignity, while being mindful of the duty imposed by the law to protect the electorates.”

He explained that the outcome of the credibility of the 2023 general elections would be measured by the extent to which we abide by these professional and legal standards as well as the nature of decisions and actions as the police interface with political parties in emplacing appropriate machinery to guarantee a peaceful electioneering campaign process.

According to him, ” we must leave no citizen in doubt of our commitment to national peace and security, as well as our unwavering determination to advance the democratic and national security interests of our beloved nation.

“The 2023 general election and the processes leading to it will certainly put us to test in this regard. Drawing on our widely commended performances in recent elections, however, I am very confident, and I trust that you shall not fail both the Police institution and the country in the upcoming electoral engagement

“Accordingly, as you return to your Commands to prepare for the electioneering campaigns, the Commissioners of Police across the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT are directed as follows: Liaise with the Resident Electoral Commissioners and the leaderships of all the political parties in your Commands towards mutually coming up with a campaign timetable that will address possible conflicts both in date, time, and venues.

“The Political Campaign Timetable for each State should be forwarded to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Department of Operations who will collate and forward the comprehensive layout to my Office not later than 27th September, 2022Submit an Election Security Action Plan that will detail your deployment plans for the security of all the venues of the political campaigns as they affect your Commands.

“This should also be submitted to my Office through the DIG (Operations) not later than 27th September 2022. Convey the decision banning all quasi-security outfits in the various States and local communities from electioneering campaigns and other politically related activities to your State Governors, Local Government Chairmen, Community Leaders, and leaderships of all political parties in your Commands for their guidance

“In so doing, it should be clearly emphasised to them that any unauthorised quasi-security agent found to be engaging in any election or political activities stands the risk of being arrested and prosecuted along with their collaborators. Redirect your intelligence activities to monitor possible elements that might be attempting to threaten the electioneering campaign process, promptly isolate them, and frustrate their illegal and undemocratic intentions

“Ensure that you upscale your deployments to dominate the public space to ensure that criminal elements do not take advantage of the active political space to manifest their criminal intents.

He counselled all political actors” to subsume their campaigns within extant legal frameworks, avoid actions or speeches that could inflame the political order and above all, cooperate with the Police in our drive to guarantee a peaceful electioneering process.”

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