The Inspector-General of Police IG.P, Usman Baba, has instructed police commissioners in the 36 states to remove obstructions by governors to impede their rivals’ campaigns.
This is happening at the same time that Abdulrasheed Bawa, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the IGP have vowed to detain and prosecute touts who obstruct the campaigns of opposition political parties and politicians who engage in vote-buying during the 2023 election.
The duo spoke at the 2022 political parties’ summit organised by the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Abuja.
The IGP made it clear that all police commissioners must offer protection to political parties conducting electioneering in every nook and cranny of every state.
He noted that any commissioner who failed to carry out his responsibility within the ambit of the law and decided to work with the governors would be terminated.
Represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Operations, Dandaura Mustapha, he said: “We have been receiving many complaints from political parties. It is unfortunate what is happening during 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, 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 in 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 and conduct your campaign freely, and we are going to give you enough security. We are encouraging all the aspirants that once you are threatened, they have no access to go around 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.”
The EFCC chairman, who was represented by Chief Superintendent Adukwu Michael in the Commission, said the anti-graft organisation had started educating voters and was trying to make sure politicians did not spend more than was allowed.
“The Commission’s focus in election management is discouraging the use of money to influence the outcome of the election.
“Electoral spending by politicians often leads to voter inducement and vote buying. Parties often induce votes with money because they lack appropriate and realistic policies to convince the electorate to vote them into power. Whenever one is induced to sell his vote, he automatically loses moral ground to challenge the corrupt tendencies of those elected.
“We are working with INEC to determine and enforce provisions of the Electoral Act regarding the limit of campaign spending by different categories of office seekers. This is an intelligent, driven exercise.”