While political parties are waiting for Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to cut loose restrictions on 2023 elections’ campaigns for parties’ faithfuls and candidates’ supporters, the Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba, and his teams across Zones, commands and formations have started putting heads together on how they could carry out their duties effectively during the campaign period, and throughout elections.
As gathered, the development was said to had become necessary for the police teams to become active and strategically prepare ahead of 2023 general elections so as to prevent unforeseen circumstances that often characterise elections as witnessed during previous ones.
It was learnt that Baba and Force Management Team met with senior members of the force including Assistant Inspectors-General of Police, commissioners across zonal, state commands and formations to review evolving political programmes laid down by the INEC and chart clear pathways for a smooth electoral process on the countdown to the elections.
At the meeting, the police’s boss charged the entire officers to ensure they boost security across Nigeria in order to guarantee a crime-free and enabling environment for political campaigns, and other components of the electoral process.
Through a statement released on Thursday by the police’s spokesperson, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, IGP indicated that since INEC had announced 28th of September for the kick-off of political parties’ campaign for forthcoming elections, the national political space would become very active and susceptible to increase in politically related offences and that himself and men were ready to combat all crimes that often associated campaigns and election.
He said: “All teams are going to be discharging their duties before, during, and after the electioneering process in line with the dictates of the Electoral Act 2022, and the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Security Personnel on Election Duty issued in 2020 by the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES)”.
“I have directed all police managers to ensure they are not utilized by political or community actors for any role during the electioneering campaign and other electoral processes as such would amount to an illegality, a threat to national security, and inimical to the nation’s democratic interest.
“I urged all Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Commissioners of Police in charge of Zonal and State Commands to work assiduously and engage an all-inclusive approach by liaising with Resident Electoral Commissioners, leadership of political parties in their commands and all relevant stakeholders, increase intelligence gathering activities, and upscale deployments to achieve the goal of re-energising the Force to sustain a stable internal security order”, Baba added.
Meanwhile, the police explained that quasi-security outfits established by various state governments and local communities operating under different nomenclatures, structures, and orientations have no legal roles under the Electoral Act and in the electoral process.