Ahead of the gubernatorial polls Saturday, March 9, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed A Adamu, has warned politicians against threatening the peaceful conduct of the elections.The IGP handed down the warning during a meeting with Strategic Police Managers at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, Monday.
The IGP said, “All political actors who might be preparing to threaten the peaceful conduct of the exercise are hereby firmly warned to play the game of politics by the rules as stipulated in the Electoral Act and to appreciate that national interest overrides their personal ambitions. Doing otherwise shall attract the full and appropriate response from the Police and other security agencies.
According to the IGP, the police would remain firm, professional and apolitical. He said, “I must, however, re-emphasize that just as in the recently concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Nigeria Police shall remain civil, firm, optimally professional and apolitical in the discharge of our duties in the 9th March, 2019 elections. We shall, nonetheless, deploy all lawful assets and assert our statutory powers to deal decisively, firmly, and promptly with any person or groups that may attempt to disrupt the process.
In his opening remarks, the IGP said the meeting was called to “address three major issues. First is to debrief strategic police commanders and undertake a comprehensive evaluation of our performance during the Presidential and National Assembly elections which were held nationwide on 23rd February, 2019.
“This is within the context of the Election Security Strategy of my leadership which highlighted Post-Election Evaluation engagement as one of the critical strands of our plan. It is designed to highlight our achievements, identify performance gaps, draw lessons and redirect our strategies towards sharpening our capacity to achieve our election security mandate in future electoral engagements.
“The second purpose of this meeting is to perfect our plans and allocate operational tasks towards the Governorship and State Assembly elections scheduled for 9th March, 2019, while the third objective is to appreciate personnel of the Force across all ranks for their sacrifice, discipline, and exceptional professionalism which was demonstrated during the Presidential and National Assembly elections. There is no doubt that the high sense of commitment to national duty, neutrality and courage accounted for the generally peaceful conduct of the exercise as well as the credibility of the entire process as attested to by local and international observers.
The IGP also revealed that 323 offenders were arrested during the presidential elections.“It is noted that updated statistics resulting from Presidential and National Assembly elections, shows that a total of three hundred and twenty -three (323) offenders have so far been arrested for various electoral offences and sundry crimes across the country. Two officers also paid the supreme sacrifice, while some others were assaulted and injured.
“In appreciating the sacrifice made towards the advancement of the democratic journey of our country, I wish to send my heartfelt condolences to the families of officers and men who lost their lives during the exercise and I also sympathize with those who were injured or assaulted. I assure them that the perpetrators of these acts will be fished out and brought to deserved justice no matter their socio-political status.
“For those arrested for various electoral infractions, I have directed the Special Electoral Offences Team of the Force to undertake detailed and conclusive investigations into all the cases with a view to liaising with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in ensuring their prosecution.
“As we perfect our plans for the Governorship and State Assembly elections, I also want to reassure the nation and the international community of the unwavering commitment of the Police to work closely with INEC and sister security agencies towards guaranteeing a peaceful and secure space for Nigerians to exercise their electoral franchise.”