The inspector-general of police, Usman Baba has said that since the official commencement of campaigns for the 2023 general elections, not less than 52 cases of politically motivated, intra, and inter-party violence have been recorded across 22 states.
He said this on Thursday at a meeting with the chairmen of leading political parties at the force headquarters in Abuja.
According to him, the federal government has deployed operatives of the Department of State Services, soldiers, civil defense corps, and Federal Fire Service personnel to INEC offices nationwide ahead of the 2023 elections.
Security collaboration: He said in order to curb these acts of violence, the police are collaborating with other security agencies to upscale the deployment of security teams to all INEC assets and facilities nationwide.
“On our part, and as an outcome of the ICCES meeting, the Nigeria Police Force, working in collaboration with other security agencies have resolved to enhance intelligence gathering, share and utilise same to stem acts of political violence, upscale the deployment of security teams to all INEC assets and facilities nationwide with teams drawn from the police, Nigerian Army, Department of State Services, Nigeria Civil and Security Defence Corps and the Federal Fire Service to take decisive lawful action against purveyors of hate speech, incitement to violence, mobilisation of thugs and other violations, including the prompt arrest, investigation, and prosecution of offenders in line with the provisions of Sections 92 and 93 of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended,” he said.
Speaking on the need for the meeting he said “This meeting became expedient following a noticeable trend within the national political space which, if not promptly addressed, could evolve into a potent threat to not just our national security but the electoral process.
‘’Drawing from the experiences of the past, electoral violence both in the process leading to an election as well as the fallout of elections, has always constituted the most dangerous threat to our democracy.’
‘’Political violence manifests in three forms. First is violence that is targeted at the personnel and assets of the Independent National Electoral Commission as recently witnessed in Ogun and Osun states.
“The second form of political violence manifests in the form of inter-party intolerance and violence, which often become particularly pronounced during campaigns, elections, and post-elections phases.
“It is on record that not less than 52 cases of such politically-motivated intra and inter-party violence have been recorded across 22 states since the official commencement of campaigns for the 2023 general election on 28th September 2022.
He revealed that the police have received reports of state governors who use thugs to disrupt the campaigns of rival political parties.
He said, “The last form of political violence relates to the conduct of some state governors who manifest traits of political intolerance, which often inflame political tension. In this regard, we have been receiving reports of some state governors who encourage political thugs and sub-national security outfits under their control to disrupt seamless and statutorily guaranteed campaign activities of parties or candidates with whom they hold opposing political views.
“In so doing, they deploy their powers and influences to either prevent the mounting of campaign billboards or pull them down, while also denying political opponents of spaces to undertake their campaigns or peaceful political congregations in contravention of the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 (As amended).’’
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