Elections: IGP ‘concerned’ over hate speeches, unveils security measures




New IGP, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu -Photo credit- Blueprint

The Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed A. Abubakar has expressed concerns over hate speeches and misinformation ahead of the 2019 elections.

Speaking during a meeting with Deputy Commissioners of Police at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, Tuesday, IGP Adamu said “We are also concerned about subversive actors who masquerade as politicians and are taking advantage of the freedoms that our democracy has bestowed on the citizens to encourage hate speeches and misinformation, and inflame passion in a manner that could threaten our stable political order.”

Earlier,  he said  the Force remained,  “genuinely concerned about the disposition of some ill-advised political actors who appear bent on threatening our democratic values and our national security all in their desperation to project their narrow political interests over and above national interests.”

.The IGP however reeled out further directives towards check  malpractices he has identified. He urged DCPs “to under the directives of your CPs,  coordinate effectively with the Resident Electoral Commissioners in your States

“Avail yourselves of the pieces of critical information provided by your Resident Electoral Commissioners and utilize them effectively in perfecting all arrangements for effective deployment of personnel and logistics;

“Perfect an advanced plan for the mobilization and deployment of personnel from sister security agencies that will be available to complement the Police during the elections;

“Emplace adequate security architecture for the security of INEC personnel, facilities, and all electoral materials;

“Emplace adequate arrangement for the safety and security of all local and international observers as may be accredited by INEC;

“Orientate all personnel on the need to perform their electoral security functions within the dictates of the Electoral Act, the Fundamental Human Rights provision of the Constitution, and the Code of Conduct developed and approved for Police Personnel on Election Duties by the Police Service Commission;

“Undertake concerted raids of black spots with a view to frustrating elements that could constitute a threat to a peaceful electoral process;

“Be conscious of the directive touching on the withdrawal of security aides from political office holders and other personalities and commit to enforcing the order on the day of the elections.

“Undertake a ‘Show of Force’ operation in conjunction with other security agencies in order to strengthen public confidence on the readiness of the Police and other sister security agencies for the elections.

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“Emplace strategies to give effect to my recent directives to mop-up illicit firearms in circulation as part of the broad strategies directed at addressing the threat of electoral violence.

For the records, read the IGP’s address below:

BRIEF REMARKS BY AG. IGP MOHAMMED A. ADAMU, NPM, mni, THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE DURING THE MEETING WITH DEPUTY COMMISSIONERS OF POLICE IN-CHARGE OF OPERATIONS HELD ON TUESDAY 29TH JANUARY, 2019 AT THE IGP CONFERENCE HALL, FORCE HEADQUARTERS, ABUJA

Protocols

It is with a deep sense of duty that I welcome you all to this all-important meeting. Today’s meeting is coming just about a week after I met with the Assistant Inspectors General of Police in all the 12 Police Zonal Headquarters and Commissioners of Police across the 36 State Commands and the FCT to perfect our plans towards the forthcoming general elections. 

2.    This approach of engaging strategic actors both within the Nigeria Police Force and across the country, is in line with my determined effort to galvanise all stakeholders towards ensuring optimal professional performance of the Nigeria Police. It is also designed to guarantee the delivery of a peaceful, secure and credible general elections in line with the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari.  

3.    It is pertinent to mention that the past two weeks of my appointment as Acting Inspector General of Police have been committed to engaging strategic stakeholders towards defining new pathways that will ensure quality security service delivery by the Police as well as guarantee a credible electoral outcome. 

4.    In this process, I have met with the National Security Adviser and the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES). I have also engaged the Nigeria Civil Society Election Situation Room, a cross section of Traditional Rulers and a delegation comprising of Ambassadors of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the European Union among others.  

5.    This meeting was convened as part of this broad engagement initiative. The meeting will discuss, evaluate, and perfect the election security plans of the Police in the most inclusive manner. We will also review the national security threat assessment report as received from different security sources and evolve pathways towards mitigating them ahead of the elections.

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6.   Senior officers, ladies and gentlemen, by virtue of the provisions of the Constitution, Electoral Act, and other relevant statutes, the Police are the lead agency not just in the electoral process but in internal security management in Nigeria. It is for this reason that the citizens and indeed, the international community are looking up to the Nigeria Police to secure the public space well enough to give the electorates the confidence and freedom to freely exercise their electoral rights. 

7.    This expectation is legitimate and the responsibility for meeting it is that of the entire officers of the Nigeria Police, particularly, the Commissioners of Police ably assisted by you, the Heads of police operations across all Police Commands who are here seated. It is in cognisance of your critical roles that I summon you for this meeting today. 

8.    The Nigeria Police under my leadership recognises that the credibility of the electoral process is key to the strengthening of our democratic credentials, national security and global perception and respect. We are conscious of our critical roles in this process and are determined more than ever before to perform these roles within the dictates of the law and with due respect to citizens’ rights. 

9.    In cognisance of this, I wish to renew our assurance to the nation and the international community of our unwavering determination to emplace strategies and initiate actions that will guarantee a peaceful, secure and level-playing field for all political actors and citizens to freely exercise their voting rights. 

10.  We, however, remain genuinely concerned about the disposition of some ill-advised political actors who appear bent on threatening our democratic values and our national security all in their desperation to project their narrow political interests over and above national interests. We are also concerned about subversive actors who masquerade as politicians and are taking advantage of the freedoms that our democracy has bestowed on the citizens to encourage hate speeches and misinformation, and inflame passion in a manner that could threaten our stable political order.

11.  Equally worrisome are reports of firearms build-up by some political actors and threats in some other quarters to disrupt the electoral process. We also note an increasing level of political intolerance which has been occasioning pockets of inter-party violence and destruction of campaign billboards across the country.  All of these constitutes not only serious electoral or criminal infractions, but major national security threats.

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12.  To the individuals and groups engaged in these unacceptable activities, let it be known that the Force leadership shall charge the Heads of Operations of the Nigeria Police who are here gathered to return to their Areas of Jurisdiction and do just two things. Protect the law abiding, but identify, isolate and deal decisively with any political actor that acts in contravention of the Electoral Act or our Criminal Laws. This is our sacred Mandate and this we shall perform within the dictates of the law and in the overriding national security interest.  

13.  Consequently, as you return to your Commands, you are hereby charged as follows:

i.            To, under the directives of your CPs,  coordinate effectively with the Resident Electoral Commissioners in your States

ii.          Avail yourselves of the pieces of critical information provided by your Resident Electoral Commissioners and utilize them effectively in perfecting all arrangements for effective deployment of personnel and logistics

iii.        Perfect an advanced plan for the mobilization and deployment of personnel from sister security agencies that will be available to complement the Police during the elections

iv.         Emplace adequate security architecture for the security of INEC personnel, facilities, and all electoral materials

v.           Emplace adequate arrangement for the safety and security of all local and international observers as may be accredited by INEC

vi.         Orientate all personnel on the need to perform their electoral security functions within the dictates of the Electoral Act, the Fundamental Human Rights provision of the Constitution, and the Code of Conduct developed and approved for Police Personnel on Election Duties by the Police Service Commission.

vii.       Undertake concerted raids of black spots with a view to frustrating elements that could constitute a threat to a peaceful electoral process

viii.     Be conscious of the directive touching on the withdrawal of security aides from political office holders and other personalities and commit to enforcing the order on the day of the elections.

ix.         Undertake a ‘Show of Force’ operation in conjunction with other security agencies in order to strengthen public confidence on the readiness of the Police and other sister security agencies for the elections.

x.           Emplace strategies to give effect to my recent directives to mop-up illicit firearms in circulation as part of the broad strategies directed at addressing the threat of electoral violence.

14.  In conclusion, I wish to once again, assure the nation and the international community of the full preparedness of the Nigeria Police for the general elections. I call on all citizens to continue to support us in our common drive towards bequeathing to our nation the legacy of a credible and peaceful 2019 general elections. I am confident that working together, we shall meet this expectation. 

15.  On this note, I welcome you all to this strategic election security planning meeting and look forward to a professionally rewarding deliberation.




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