Police perfect strategies for peaceful elections, warn troublemakers
The warning came as the police national leadership meets with zonal commanders and state commissioners to perfect strategies to ensure peaceful conduct of the polls.
In a related development, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Suleiman Abba, has said the police authorities were still receiving some of the logistics needed for the elections, but will make “judicious use of the available” supplies at the disposal of the security organisation.
At the meeting with the senior officers yesterday in Abuja, IGP Abba, while answering questions from journalists, said: “Whoever wants to take the laws into his own hands should have a rethink because the law enforcement agencies are together in the resolve to ensure that the elections are conducted devoid of rancour.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) approved one agent per polling unit from each political party, if anyone else is there, it is an offence, and we will arrest the person. If anyone cannot behave well within the radius of 30 meters of the polling unit, it is better to steer clear.
“If anyone tries to intimidate another person, it is an offence. If you solicit for votes at the polling unit, it is an offence. If you carry any weapon, it is an offence. The offences are so many, I would even advice my enemy to steer clear, if you stay there, keep your cool because there are many temptations.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) approved one agent per polling unit from each political party, if anyone else is there, it is an offence, and we will arrest the person. If anyone cannot behave well within the radius of 30 meters of the polling unit, it is better to steer clear.
Abba, who said the purpose of the meeting was to perfect strategies to prevent disruption, in any way, of the elections, noted that the leadership will call attention to the need for the police in general to be non-partisan and impartial in the course of carrying out their constitutional responsibilities of providing security during the elections.
While pledging that the police would ensure the safety of election materials, personnel from the electoral body and the general public, Abba said “we will prevent the snatching of card readers, we would make sure nobody disturb the peace there, and we will make sure that we make the place well secure for the electorates, to prevent the commission from crimes as spelt out in section 129 of the electoral law. Anyone who makes an attempt to disrupt the national elections will be arrested and prosecuted.”
On the availability of logistics, Abba said the more than 2000 cars that were approved for the election are coming in dregs. “So far, so good, but as you are aware, you can hardly get enough of what you want. We would continue to ask for more.
“But let me just say that what is very important in policing includes transportation, communication and then others. We are still sharing the vehicles approved for us, the approval was for over 2000 and we are still receiving them in hundreds. As we receive, we share. We would use the logistics available.”
On the threat of strike over non-payment of salary arrears by some officers, Abba traced the history of the whole situation, saying it predates his ascendency to office as the inspector general, but said he made concerted efforts to get the appropriate authorities to correct the mistake which he said caused it.
According to him, the police officer should be celebrating not grumbling” for getting the harmonized salary commensurate to their current ranks after three years without it.
His words: “By the 1st January 2015, officers started drawing the benefits of their promotions, and by February, we began to hear rumours that arrears should be paid. Yes, arrears will be paid, but you don’t get everything overnight. If you started getting it (harmonized emoluments) after being patient for three years, you should be celebrating not grumbling.
“Anybody talking about any other thing is just trying to incite the officers. The officers are happy that they are drawing salaries on their new ranks. But we have made submissions to the government, and something is been done about it. For anybody to think he can incite our officers to go on strike, they themselves should also know the consequences of that action. No one should come and bring division in the police, we care about the welfare of our officers and no one should come from outside to incite them. We are asking for cooperation from all, not commendation,” the IG said.
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