December 5, 2022

IGP Meets Stakeholders On Election Security Management

6 min read

……Calls on political parties to dissociate themselves from acts of political brigandage and violence

The Inspector General of Police, Alkali Usman Baba, appealed to the leadership of all political parties on Thursday to be determined to demonstrate the right leadership virtues and publicly disassociate themselves from acts of political brigandage and violence, which he believes is the only way to reassure citizens and the international community of the nation’s commitment to peaceful 2023 General Elections.

The IGP appealed during an emergency meeting at the Force Headquarters in Abuja with strategic leaders from national security and intelligence agencies, as well as the leadership of all eighteen (18) registered political parties.

According to Usman Baba, the majority of recorded violent incidents or threats are often the result of political extremism, misinformation, intolerance, incorrect political orientation, hate speeches, incitement, and, most importantly, the desperation of strategic actors within the political field who frequently prioritize their parochial political ambitions over national security interests and the nation’s stable democratic order.

He observed that such actors typically mislead their party faithful, arm, re-orient, and encourage them to resort to the use of threat, violence, and other extra-legal tactics to impede competing political parties and impose their incorrect understanding of politicking.

Police IG also lamented that the last form of political violence related 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),” he stressed.

The Police Inspector General of Police pointed out that the leadership of each political party is critical in eradicating the menace of political intolerance, threat, violence, and other negative tendencies in our democratic culture.

This is because they are the strategic gatekeepers to our democracy whose conduct or misconduct do have a reverberating effect on the actions of their followers as well as on the national political space.

Baba, therefore, appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission to, in cognizance of their critical regulatory, enforcement, and supervisory roles as enshrined in the Electoral Act 2022, assert their statutory powers, and scale up their compliance actions towards complementing the Nigeria Police and other law enforcement agencies in checkmating the threats being posed to our democratic order by actors within the political system.

Below is the communiqué read by IGP Usman Alkali Baba at the end of the meeting with Strategic Stakeholders in the Nation’s Electoral Process on the 17th of November, 2022 at the IGP’s Conference Hall, Force Headquarters, Abuja

The meeting was urgently convened to discuss issues of electoral violence and other negative tendencies identified within the electoral process following the commencement of political campaigns and which constitute potent threats to the 2023 General Elections. It was also intended to adopt an all-stakeholders approach in evolving pathways to mitigate such threats.
2. The meeting had in attendance Chairmen and representatives of seventeen (17) registered political parties in Nigeria; the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who was represented by Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu; Director-General, of National Intelligence Agency, Mr. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; Chief of Defence Intelligence, Maj. Gen. SA Adebayo; Director-General Department of State Services represented by Director of Operations, Mr. Joseph Dashwip.
3. Other attendees were the representatives of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Commandant General of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Controller-General of Nigerian Correctional Service, and members of the Force Management Team.
4. The Inspector General of Police gave a welcome speech in which he highlighted the concerning effects of hate speech, threats, violence, and tendency by strategic political actors including some state governors in initiating actions that deny opposition parties from manifesting their electoral rights as enshrined in the electoral Act, 2022 as amended.
5. He emphasised the effects of such acts on the electoral process and national security, and challenged the leadership of Political Parties and candidates whom he described as ‘critical gatekeepers to our democracy’’ to demonstrate purposeful and patriotic leadership that will guarantee a peaceful electoral process in line with the commitment made during the Peace Accord signing ceremony on 29th September, 2022 and in deference to the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to bequeath to the nation a democratic heritage in which the interests and wishes of the electorates take pre-eminence.

6. In their remarks the Representative of the INEC Chairman, DG National Intelligence Agency, DG DSS, and Chief of Defence Intelligence also expressed concerns on the global political consequences of violence in our democratic process as well as the effect on our national security and democratic process, and called on Political actors to reinforce their commitment to a peaceful electoral process.
7. The Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) who also doubles as the Chairman of Action Democratic Party (ADP) as well as Chairmen and Representatives of other Political Parties present also interrogated the agenda of the meeting and offered in-depth insight into the dynamics and factors accentuating political violence in the democratic polity, and also proffered solutions.
8. After a comprehensive deliberation, the following resolutions were reached and hereby declared as the “Communiqué of the Meeting with Political Parties and Other Stakeholders in Preparation for the 2023 General Elections”:
1. Recognised that political violence, hate speech, threat, political intolerance, misinformation, and political extremism are potent threats to our democracy and national security interests
2. Expressed grave concerns on the conduct of some State Governors in deploying State Powers to deny opposition parties and candidates to advance their electoral freedom and activities in their States
3. Expressed concerns on the continuous and illegal deployments of sub-national, quasi security bodies by some State Governors to intimidate political opponents in violation of the Electoral Act
4. Recognised the need to protect our democratic heritage and national security interests in order to insulate the country from possible subversive activities by foreign powers
5. Condemned in unison and in all ramifications, the trend of political violence, hate speech and other negative tendencies in our electoral process and reached a consensus to the need to present a common front with the Nigeria Police, INEC, Military and other security agencies in nipping the negative trend in the bud
6. Condemned attacks on INEC personnel and assets ahead of the 2023 General elections
7. Called on the Nigeria Police and other security agencies to be conscious of not just violence before and during the elections, but also possible violence after the General Elections and the impact such could have on the credibility and successful conclusion of the process
8. Called on the Police and other security agencies to remain professional, apolitical and impartial in the performance of their election security operations and to be firm in dealing with electoral violence and other threats to the election security process
9. Recognised the assurances by INEC to continue to enforce the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and to continue to synergise with the Nigeria Police as the lead agency in the election security management process towards addressing threats within the electoral process and in guaranteeing a peaceful and credible 2023 General Elections
10. Assured that the leaderships of all Political Parties will re-dedicate themselves towards undertaking their campaigns and electoral activities within the dictates of the Electoral Act, 2022 and pledged to denounce electoral violence, hate speeches and other negative tendencies in the electoral process
11. Encouraged the Inspector General of Police to extend the engagement to Presidential, Governorship and other candidates across all Parties as it is recognised that most instances of violence are associated with some of them and their followers.
12. Commended the Inspector General of Police for his vision in convening the meeting and encouraged him to sustain the initiative of engaging the leaderships of political parties in addressing threats to the electoral process and also encouraged him to cascade the initiative to the State and Local levels of governance for the initiative to have grassroots effect
7. The Meeting came to a close at about 1400hrs on the 17th of November, 2022.

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