Lagos Police Commissioner reads riot act to cultists, political thugs
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi, yesterday, warned that the Command would be tougher on cultists and Political thugs in the state.
The CP gave the warning during Security/Stakeholders meeting involving the Police, other security agencies, INEC officials as well as political party executives and flag bearers at the POWA Secretariat, Ikeja, GRA, Lagos.
The CP called on political parties to warn their supporters against heating the polity. He said: “The major focus of this meeting is to deliberate with stakeholders and ask everyone to comport themselves in orderly manner for us to have a conducive environment during the elections.
“We expect that the political gladiators call on their followers to shun thuggery, otherwise the arm of the law will take care of them.
“There is no room for thuggery in Lagos, we will not allow anybody that will mar the election. I can assure Lagosians that everything will go smooth so we can have a peaceful transition, transparent, fair, free election. I insist, no room for political thuggery, anyone caught will have himself to blame.
Calling for support, he said: “Policing is everybody’s business, information is very key, and residents should inform the police of the presence of cultists or troublemakers in their areas. We need to collaborate because policemen are not magician. So, we need information to work with; police is everyone’s property and we all need to own it, we need to build trust and it should move from Police Is Your Friend, To Police Is Your Family.
“The people’s confidence in the value of their vote is principally reliant on the security and resilience of the infrastructure that makes the nation’s elections possible. Free and fair elections is the hallmark of democracy and we as critical stakeholders in the provision of security during elections have the responsibility to ensure that it is conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner devoid of rancour, malevolence, brigandage and thuggery.
“Political violence, hate speech, threat, political intolerance, misinformation and political extremism are potent threats to our democracy and national security. I therefore challenge the leadership of political parties and candidates who are critical gatekeepers of our democracy to demonstrate purposeful and patriotic leadership that will guarantee a peaceful electoral process and to develop the culture of political tolerance and display of political maturity by allowing healthy competition among themselves.
“We admonish politicians, political actors and political parties to adhere to all electoral procedures and laws, avoid the use of non-state actors and non-state security outfits. You should also shun all sorts of violence, vote buying and other electoral offences capable of marring the peaceful outcome of this election. This is because any person or group of persons found conducting themselves in an unlawful manner will be dealt with accordingly and the full weight of the law will be brought to bear on such persons.
Asked if the Command has enough men for the election exercise, he said: “Can we really have enough men to man an election?, That is why we have the synergy to get all the security agents including the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Customs, Immigration and others; we will be able to manage the election effectively.
On his part, Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos, Philip Aivoji, said: “The State Commissioner of Police is doing very well but my fear is changing a Commissioner of Police before an election. How can we be sure that the person coming will continue with the good work he’s doing, that’s my fear.”