The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Baba Alkali said Thursday that politicians must abide by the rules of the game to avoid breach of peace before, during and after the 2023 general elections.
The IGP said this while fielding questions from State House correspondents at the weekly briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team.
“It takes two to tango. There are laid down means and ways as well as procedures to do rallies and campaigns. On our part, we have gone out to appeal to politicians to play the game by the rules and at the same time allow us to regulate political processions, campaigns and rallies, to avoid clashes and so forth.
“Attack on campaign or rallies is like any other crime. It can be detected, it can remain undetected. Where we have such issues, arrest can be made and those who are involved can also be charged to court.
“We know our powers and duties in the electoral Act and we will continue to educate our personnel on how to effectively use those powers to ensure that the electioneering period metamorphoses into free and credible elections,” he said.
The IGP also urged governors to desist from using their security outfits for selfish gains and to oppress their opponents.
“On the day of the signing of the peace accord, I reiterated and observed that we have not less than 64 Security outfits that are created by different state Governors with names for different purposes.
“And that’s why most of the time, if these outfits are created by Governors, we are invited to educate them on the extent of their engagement in crime prevention and control. We are checking that they are also good. So that is why they need to be regulated and they need to be checkmated and we are doing that.
“But mostly the crime prevention and space is so wide, that we are encouraging everybody to come in. And that is where we said policing is something that requires the contribution of everybody. So while these outfits have been created to checkmate crime and criminality, we have also told them that they are not to be used for politicking or to be used for political reasons.
“You made mention of Ebube Agu in Ebonyi, we have on many occasions checked their highhandedness by arresting and investigating those who have actually gone out of their way to commit crime and we have charged them to court.
“There is no way we can allow it, if we can charge our personnel for high handedness and other activities, there is nobody who is going to be exempted, if there is any specific case that the police has not gone into in the case of those kinds of outfits you may mention, but to the best of our knowledge, you cannot avoid it, theory and practice might differ,” he said.
He said the number of policemen patrolling the Lagos-Ibadan expressway has been increased to prevent crimes and combat issues of insecurity along the busy road.
“Yes, we know what is happening there and most of the cases if they are not prevented they are detected. Just the beginning of this week we have decided to increase our presence on the road.
“And because of a lot of construction work that is going on, there are diversions, there are blockages and so forth. But our presence has been increased and we hope that will mitigate the crime further,” he said.
He said the military and all security agencies are concerned about the rate of kidnappings in the country and are working round the clock to tackle it.
“The issue of kidnapping is an issue that bothers almost all the security agents, including the military, it is a crime that once it is committed, you have to tread very softly and with all sense of professionalism.
“If you do not rescue the person, save, unhurt, you’ve not done anything and once somebody is in the captivity of an armed person, then you need to do a lot of things, it is not all about guns and other things. There are a lot of other things that can be done.
“We were able to rescue the whole of forestry students in Kaduna through negotiation, we were able to rescue many others, which I can give you example, for those that we are in contact with, there are things that we are doing it is a new crime and new ways of approaching it and new ways of dousing it. Clearly it is understudy,” the Police Boss explained.
Commenting on the present security situation in Abuja, the IGP said the recent advisory issued by some embassies was blown out of proportion.
“Nobody has dismissed it as just an alarm. Government has never dismissed it as an alarm but we only said it was blown or made in such a way that our people became apprehensive to the situation or to the way it was done.
“The embassies have their own responsibilities to their citizens and they can make their advice and the government has not dismissed what has happened because they have also informed us of what they foresee as threats.
“And we on our parts have also looked at what they put as a threat as something that has been with us and efforts are being made daily to see that those threats are mitigated or prevented from happening and that is what has been happening in Abuja and all over the country,” he said.
He said some arrests have been made relating to the threat alerts and those arrested would soon be charged to court.
“Sometimes, these threats or things happen but nobody has dismissed it as mere alarm and a lot of efforts have been made, like you said to douse tension. Yes, actually arrests have been made for those, we believe are planning to commit crime in whatever form and we have done that arrest and as at when due, those arrested will be charged to court by any of the services that have them,” he said.
He said as part of its many commitments to the welfare of its personnel, the Nigeria Police Force has so far completed a total of 198 projects including the building of modern police stations and barracks in its Commands across the country.
He also said 10,000 police recruits are currently undergoing training while other officers of the force are receiving various drills ahead of the 2023 General Elections.