The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba Alkali, has warned police commissioners in the 36 states against being used by governors to stop political opponents from holding campaign rallies.
IGP Usman, who was represebted by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Operations, Dandaura Mustapha, stated this while speaking at the 2022 political parties’ summit organised by the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), on Wednesday in Abuja.
The police boss instructed the state police commissioners to dismantle campaign bottlenecks put in place by governors to frustrate their opponents.
He directed all commissioners of police to provide security for political parties embarking on electioneering in every part of their state.
According to the IGP, any police commissioner that fails to carry out his responsibility and chooses to obey unlawful directives of the governors would be removed.
He said: “We have been receiving a lot of complains from political parties. It is unfortunate of what is happening this period. All the political parties are complaining. It is not only APC or PDP or Labour Party or APGA. Unfortunately, some of our governors as stated by the IG during a meeting with the political parties that they are not helping matters.
They have not laid a solid foundation, give other political parties access to campaign programmes. Some try to manipulate the campaign.
Some even sponsor touts to pursue the opposition, remove their billboards and posters and destroy their offices.
Based on this, the Inspector General of Police, has categorically directed all the commissioners of police that on no account should any serving or sitting governor stop other political parties from conducting their campaigns in all the nook and cranny of the state.
This instruction was very clear both in writing and verbal. We have told all the commissioners of police. When it happens, the commissioners of police have been directed to arrest all the hoodlums no matter where they belong and whoever is sponsoring them we will arrest them and charge them to court.
So, please, be rest assured that all political parties are free to go about your lawful businesses. You are free to go to any village conduct your campaign freely and we are going to give you enough security. We are encouraging all the aspirants that once you are threatened and you have no access to go round meet the commissioner of police in charge of that state. They have been directed and warned to provide security for all the aspirants. No matter where they are going, they will attach security.”
It has been reported that ahead of the 2023 election, some state governors are places stringent conditions on political opponents before they are allowed to carry out their campaigns.