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2019: lG orders arrest, prosecution of arms bearers in campaigns rallies

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To ensure peaceful campaigns and rallies ahead of 2019 general elections, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris on Monday, ordered Commissioners of Police (CPs) in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to deal with anybody bearing arms at political campaigns and rallies.

The IG charged his men to arrest and prosecute any member or supporter of any political party in possession of firearms or dangerous weapons during political campaigns and rallies in their respective commands while speaking at an interactive lecture held at Oyo State Police Command Headquarters, Eleyele, Ibadan.

Represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of Logistics and Supply, Mr. Agboola Oshodi-Glover, who doubles as the supervising DIG for the South West, the IG had the interactive lecture with critical stakeholders, including officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), traditional rulers, religious leaders, security agencies, and political parties on the security arrangements for the 2019 general elections.

Idris told the gathering that Commissioners of Police in the Commands and Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police throughout the country were under strict instructions of the Inspector General of Police not to tolerate any form of political thuggery, intimidation, demonstration of violent conducts and over-dramatisation of political fans that can precipitate political clashes and jeopardize prevailing peace in their commands from any political party or politician.

According to him, “Commissioners of Police are to effect arrest and immediately prosecute any party member or supporter in possession of firearms or dangerous weapons during campaigns and rallies in their respective states.

“The force will not condone any hate speeches, indecent and criminal defamatory conducts from any individual or group that can cause threat to public peace and safety anywhere in the country”, he added.

From now on till the end of the stipulated campaign period for the 2019 general elections, the IG disclosed that he had directed the CPs in 36 states’ commands and FCT as well as supervisory AIGs in 12 zonal commands to protect and safeguard all venues of campaigns, rallies and other INEC approved electioneering activities of all political parties throughout the country.

Continuing , Idris said Threat Assessment and deployment of Police personnel to flash points and vulnerable areas had been carried out to prevent and nip in the bud any form of inter-party frictions, political thuggery and clashes that can lead to disturbance of public peace anywhere in the country.

To make the job of the Police easier in ensuring that peace reigns in the country before, during and after the elections, the IG
advised political parties to abide by the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), INEC guidelines and play the game according to the rules.

He said, “all political parties must prevail on their flag bearers, members, supporters and fans not to engage in any act or conduct that can incite violence or disturbance of public peace anywhere in the country just as I urge parents and guardians to monitor their children and wards towards being law abiding and should not allow themselves to be used to disturb public peace”.

The IG also tasked policemen to remain focused and should not engage in partisanship or bias towards providing security for all.

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